Fayetteville should not give up what's of value
I have been a citizen of Fayetteville since 1974 when I came here to college. In 1975, I married Mark Widder. He was born and raised at 1660 Markham Road. As of August 2020, the pasture next door to his family home has been clear cut. Nothing left but red dirt, scorched earth remained. It is heartbreaking.
Back in the 1970s when my husband was on the Parks and Recreation Board and I worked at the Richardson Center, Mark worked tirelessly to make this town safe for bicycling, especially for serious bicycle commuters. I worked tirelessly to fight for wheelchair accessibility in the city and schools. We had our battles. We had long nights at city board meetings But there were a few things that were different from the current times. There were serious debates, but we felt listened to. There was a mutual respect and regard. Long-range planning was carefully considered and impact studies were seriously considered. Things like the green space ordinance, the sidewalk ordinance, the tree ordinance, the skyline ordinance and the single-family dwelling ordinance were taken seriously.
Quality of Life for all residents of Fayetteville matters. We have a right to preserve what is good and beautiful in our community. We have a right to historical, natural and cultural preservation. We need serious discussion, not just trendy buzz words and slogans, like "Keep Fayetteville Funky" or "infill" or "tactical urbanism." We need to shape our community according to the values of our lifelong citizens.
Our children have a right to have safe places to play outdoors in our own neighborhoods. Pedestrian safety is endangered by massive on-street parking, narrower lanes with speed bumps and separate bike lanes that fill with debris, bottle neck and create the false notion that an adult on a bicycle is not a vehicle. Bicycles are considered vehicles in Arkansas and should be respected as such, which means sharing the road. Speed bumps, narrow curbs and gutters make pedestrian ways inaccessible for wheel chairs, walkers and strollers. I would beg the city to confer with serious bicycle traffic engineers and city planners who have expertise in real pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Fayetteville is my lifelong home. Fayetteville is not a commodity. It is not a real estate opportunity. Increasing the dollar value of my home at the expense of ruining my beautiful neighborhood does not reflect my values. Markham Hill is part of my family heritage, a natural, cultural and historical jewel that should not be squandered.
I challenge all citizens to speak out and tell the City Council what Fayetteville is to you and what Fayetteville is not to you. I also challenge you to say what Markham Hill is to you and what it is not. Let's stop the madness and preserve what we hold near and dear to our hearts.
Letter writer, columnist earn 'journalist' status
I really enjoyed the Jan. 12 letter from Bob Warner of Hot Springs Village. He stated exactly how I feel about the current state of affairs in the country. I do not believe much of what I see on the major networks and not a great deal of what I read in your paper.
Now I can say you have two journalists in your paper, Bob Warner and Victor Davis Hanson.