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SPRINGDALE -- A large map stretched down the length of two tables in the center of the Sam's Community Room on Thursday night at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale. Property owners and residents of the surrounding area came to see what marked their homes on the map.

Springdale held a public meeting for the proposed route of the extension of Don Tyson Parkway west from Gene George Boulevard to Arkansas 112. The route would follow Dearing Road west from Gene George. Where Dearing jogs to the north, the new road will continue west, and pass just north of the horse trail of the Western Trails subdivision. The new parkway will continue and line up with Tontitown's Kissinger Avenue across Arkansas 112.

Public input

The public comment period for the proposed western expansion of Don Tyson Parkway will continue until Oct. 11. Copies of the proposed design and a feedback form are available from the Mayor’s Office at 201 Spring St. or the city’s website Information: 750-8114.

Brad Smith's house sits on the west side of Dearing, where it takes the jog. He attended the meeting with the knowledge the road would run through the middle of his house. An initial design showed Don Tyson Parkway running through his shop adjacent to the house. Smith said he told city officials at that point to buy his entire property because his back door literally would open onto the road.

"They're going to destroy it probably," he said. "I wasn't happy about it when I found out. I like living there. But I don't really have any choice."

"By determining to take that home, we were able to avoid a lot of concerns of other folks," said Mayor Doug Sprouse, who spoke on the phone Thursday night from New Orleans.

"As a rule, we try to avoid displacing anyone," he continued. "Road projects are always very difficult because they impact someone's property. But the projects are done for the greater public good."

"There's a lot of 'What ifs,'" said Terry Tucker with the Arkansas Department of Transportation, who attended the meeting because the department will oversee the project. "What if we do this? What if we do that?"

Tammy Harnis, who lives on the stretch of Dearing not affected, said the straighter road will eliminate some corners at the jog which have proven dangerous to drivers.

She and other residents pointed at geological features on the map, showing representatives where the water drains off a hill and often leaves parts of Dearing flooded. Jason Appel showed where culverts would be employed to move the water under the proposed road and drain to the same location without flooding. Appel works for Engineering Services Inc. of Springdale, which designed the road.

Carlene Riggenberg, whose house in Western Trails will back to the parkway, said she was concerned about noise, safety of those riding horses along the trail and aesthetics. The designated and fenced horse trail runs 2 miles around the outside of the neighborhood. Many folks bought houses in the subdivision for that reason and use it daily, she said.

An earlier version of the route showed the horse trail moved, Appel said. But public comment against that was strong enough for engineers to eliminate that possibility, he added.

"What about these trees," Riggenberg asked. "And there's honeysuckle that has grown up along the trail. Will they stay there? They would be insulating."

"They will stay there," Appel said.

A time clock for construction of the Tyson Parkway extension hasn't started, explained City Engineer Brad Baldwin. The road isn't a 2018 bond project, he said. Rather it will be built using federal money administrated by the state Transportation Department, and the money hasn't yet been designated. Money was available to complete the design of the road to this point, which the state has approved.

Baldwin did say the money is expected. He said the city hopes to begin acquiring land for the road and utility rights of way in 2020.

"We have a big X on our house," said Brad Foster, who has lived farther north on the Dearing jog for 14 years. "The fear of the unknown is huge" -- the unknown of where they will move, the unknown offer from the city for their home.

Foster noted the proposed sidewalk along the Tyson extension would be wide enough for bicycles and ultimately connect with the Razorback Greenway. "I like to ride bikes," he said. "It's going to be right in my backyard. I always wanted that, but now we won't be there."

Foster spoke of his in-laws in poor health, who share the 3,000-square-foot house; his children and the only house they've ever known; and the three pets the family has buried in the backyard. Nor does the 40-something want to start over with a new mortgage when the family is halfway through paying off the current one.

He said he and his wife bought the house 14 years ago "because we love the area, and we knew the area would grow up. We thought that would be great.

"I get it. It's progress and all that stuff," Foster said. "But, in the end, we'll figure it out, and we'll be taken care of."

NW News on 09/07/2018

Print Headline: Residents see proposed route of Don Tyson Parkway

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