Fayetteville Upgrading Infrastructure With 'Mayor's Box' Project Surrounding the City

by Marty Cook  on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 12:00 am  

It’s not just roads that Jordan and the city are building. Jordan said the road improvement is tied in with sidewalks and Fayetteville’s extensive trail system.

Jordan said the city budget for sidewalks will nearly triple from $500,000 to nearly $1.5 million, and the city will build four miles of trails in 2014 after building nearly six miles this past year.

The overall plan in Jordan’s mind is obvious as he repeatedly pops out from behind his desk to point out the existing schools in Fayetteville and how the street and sidewalk upgrades connect the community.

“We’re going to spend the same amount of money on sidewalks that we’ve been spending on trails so we can get the double whammy,” Jordan said. “For years we’ve needed a good sidewalk program but we didn’t have the funding. These schools interlock with a half-mile radius and we spiderweb them out.

“Every child will be able to walk safely to school. It makes us a walkable community.”

Once the box is completed — the only section not funded yet is Rupple to Howard Nickell Road in the northwest corner that crosses outside the city limits — the city plans to develop areas inside the box. Brown said Fayetteville’s growth and east-west corridors are complicated by terrain and the University of Arkansas, which owns a significant portion of city space.

“We’re kind of limited what we can do east-west in the central part of the city,” Brown said. “We’re trying to make additional access in the north and south. It helps disperse traffic. It doesn’t solve all the traffic woes in the city, but it sets up the perimeter of the city and then you infill.”

Jordan said having more sidewalks, trails and bicycle lanes will help the environment by reducing carbon emissions, but developing the overall plan will have a significant business impact, he said. Brown said a major company located in Fayetteville because the trails system and walking paths were wanted by employees.

A bond issue last year gave the city funds to build a major regional park in the south that will be a major attraction, Jordan said.

“You can go around this city either by car or public transportation or by bike or you can walk,” Jordan said. “People want to be able to walk places. Your population drives the business engine of your city. We have big-city amenities with a small-town feel.”

Jordan said he understands how the current construction can be a nuisance — Garland Avenue is a fine example of a road best untraveled during busy times of the day — but said people will just have to be patient. The final product will benefit everyone and be worth the wait.

“You don’t get trophies for building infrastructure,” Jordan said. “No one is going to remember who built the infrastructure, but you know what? Once it is built it will help advance this city for our children and our children’s children.

“If we are going to develop the economic engine of this city, we have to build infrastructure. It has to happen.”



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