In case you missed it: March 29 Town Hall Meeting

The impending paid parking program for the downtown area received the most attention at the town hall meeting Monday night. So, here’s the skinny, just in case you missed it.

The city’s written proposal for the paid parking program in the entertainment district will be turned in by the end of the week, said Sharon Crosson, the parking and telecommunications manager.

When paid parking becomes a reality on Dickson Street, Crosson said patrons of the entertainment district would likely try to park in the neighborhoods, looking for free parking. So, the proposal will establish a residential parking zone and permits will be distributed to the neighbors.

“This will be growing pains for all of us,” Crosson said.

When residents have events at their home, the city will provide an online application process to ensure their guests will not be ticketed, she said. The hope is to keep free parking for residents who live near Dickson Street, Crosson said.

During the question and answer session, Jim Laubler, who lives in Ward 4, said he was concerned about infringing on personal rights if the city requires residents to get a permit to have extra parking for events at their home.

“That doesn’t sound a whole lot like America,” Laubler said. “This isn’t Atlanta, Georgia or Houston,” he continued. “We’ve got some room here.”

One commenter suggested instituting a residential parking program that extended further into the neighborhoods of the downtown area, specifically around the University of Arkansas and Fayetteville High School because of the growth and construction in those areas.

“We need to make sure we’re looking at the whole large picture and that’s a much, much bigger circle than the west entertainment district,” Mike Johnson of Ward 2 said.

More public input sessions for the public parking program are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Switching gears from the parking issue, one comment from the public pertained to the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) approved for the development at the corner of Mountain Street and College Avenue.

The mayor, along with some aldermen, have been considering introducing legislation that would make developers more accountable for the tax break, said Don Marr, the mayor’s chief of staff.

Without the performance bond requirements, “we are in a wait and see mode,” with that development, Marr said.

Mayor Jordan voted to approve the TIF when he was an alderman, which he said was “probably an error on my part.”

Also at the meeting, the mayor plugged the upcoming Fayetteville Forward followup on April 17. At the all-day event, participants will be looking at the accomplishment of the summit in the past year and adding to the goals, Jordan said.

Mary Robbins is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She declared Fayetteville as her hometown upon moving here for college. She is a Journalism graduate who enjoys live music, the outdoors and attending city council meetings. For more of Mary’s contributions, visit her author page.