Springdale residents saw and gave feedback on the 50% completed design for the $7.2 million project to extend Don Tyson Parkway, from Gene George Boulevard to Arkansas Highway 112.
They viewed the design and commented on it in a meeting Thursday (Sept. 6) at the Sam’s Club Community Room at Arvest Ballpark, 3000 Gene George Boulevard. Feedback will be reviewed by the city and consultant engineer, and comments might lead to minor changes to the project, such as grading or landscaping, but not the alignment, said Melissa Reeves, director of public relations for the city. Previously, the city hosted meetings on the alignment of the extension, but this meeting allowed residents a look at the 50% design plans.
Plans show the parkway will be a four-lane road with a raised median, a 10-foot-wide trail on the north side and a five-foot-wide sidewalk on the south side. A traffic light will be included at the intersection with Highway 112. One home will be removed because of the project. Also, several sheds, a hay barn and a 300-foot-long building, housing farm equipment, horses and hay, will be removed.
The project is necessary in the western part of the growing city to help benefit residents and development in the area, Reeves said. Between 2000 and 2017, the population of Springdale has risen 74%, or by 33,801, to 79,599, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Charlie Platt of Springdale said he thinks the project will be good for the city, and the selected alignment impacts fewer families than others. He also said the new road, which will run parallel to U.S. Highway 412 to the north, should help to alleviate traffic at Highway 112 and U.S. 412.
“We’re excited about it,” said Platt, adding that his wife, Chaddie, owns dog boarding business Dog Party USA on Highway 112 near the project.
David Cunningham, who’s worked as a farmhand on a 32-acre farm that will be impacted by the project, was against the project.
“It’s just cutting a family farm in half,” said Cunningham, who’s worked on the farm along Highway 112 for 38 years. “It’s just been a really hurtful thing.”
The project will run through the middle of the farm, which raises cattle, chickens and peacocks. It will require the removal of a 300-foot-long building, formerly a chicken house, a hay barn and a smaller building. The road will require the family to transport cattle in trailers in order for them to be moved from the pasture on one side of the road to the other. About one-third of the length of the parkway will run through the property.
Springdale-based Engineering Services Inc. (ESI) is expected to complete the design for the 0.79-mile project this fall. The engineering firm also worked on the widening and extension of 56th Street, between Don Tyson Parkway and Johnson Mill Boulevard in Johnson.
The meeting was an open house format and didn’t include a formal presentation, and a large map of the design was spread out on tables. Those who could not attend the meeting can pick up copies of the design and provide comments on it until Oct. 11. Comment forms are available online or at the mayor’s office at 201 Spring St. This project, which is not included in the 2018 bond issue, will be paid for with federal funding, administered by the Arkansas Department of Transportation, Reeves said.
Residents can receive updates for the project on the city’s website, but a timeline for completion has yet to be set as funding has not been identified for the construction of the project.