Phillip McKnight to run for City Council in Ward 4

Phillip McKnight


Longtime Fayetteville resident Phillip McKnight is the second person to announce plans to replace departing Ward 4 Alderwoman Rhonda Adams as a City Council candidate in the Nov. 4 general election.

McKnight, 55, is a national account manager for Nite Ize, a manufacturer of outdoor gear with distribution in over 60 countries.

He has served on the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board since 2011, was treasurer of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks for six years, and is past president of the Arkansas Nurserymen’s Association.

McKnight graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1981. He moved back to Fayetteville in 1992.

McKnight said he believes in preserving established neighborhoods, and is an active member in the Waterman Woods Property Owners Association along with current Ward 4 Alderman Alan Long. The two were among many west Fayetteville residents who opposed The Cottages, a 702-bedroom student housing development proposed on the Marinoni family’s property along Wedington Drive and Interstate 49.

Residents in the surrounding areas said the development would have put too much traffic on Sang Avenue and into the neighborhoods along Markham Road and Cleveland Street as students commute to class.

McKnight said he is a proponent of the city’s parks and trails, and is a strong supporter of youth athletics.

“With the new regional park and the acquisition of Mount Kessler, the City of Fayetteville is set to become the premier destination for youth sports and outdoor enthusiasts,” he said in a news release. “With the Boys and Girls Club in Ward 4 serving as a catalyst for youth sports, we need to invest in opportunities that continue to grow youth participation.”

This will be McKnight’s second run for City Council in Ward 4. He was defeated by Shirley Lucas in 2006.

He will face Mike Emery for Position 1 seat this fall. As of Thursday, no one else had announced plans to run in the west Fayetteville ward.

There are three other Position 1 seats up for grabs this fall, including positions held by Adella Gray (Ward 1), Mark Kinion (Ward 2) and Justin Tennant (Ward 3). The city attorney position, held by Kit Williams, is also up for election.

Gray, Kinion and Tennant announced last week they’ll run again. Williams has said he’ll seek re-election.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Rhonda Adams plans to serve out her term before moving to Tampa, Fla. with her husband, Charles, who recently accepted a position as dean of the Honors College at the University of South Florida.

The filing period for City Council candidates begins July 25.

Profile: Phillip McKnight

Position sought: Ward 4, Position 1
Age: 55
Residency: Has lived in Fayetteville since 1992
Employment: National Account Manager, Nite Ize, Inc., Fayetteville, AR office
Education: Bachelor of science in landscape design and urban horticulture, University of Arkansas
Political Experience: None

3 Questions for Phillip

We send each candidate three questions after receiving their announcement. We post their answers here once they respond.

What made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
I ran for City Council in 2006. I had always planned to run again. With so many important decisions coming to the City Council, I felt compelled to serve the city that I call home.

Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 4? How would you describe that part of town?
I have always liked this part of town. The unique access to I-49 and special connection to the University of Arkansas have always made Ward 4 an attractive area to me.

Are there any recent citywide or Ward 4 council decisions you agree or disagree with?
I am most excited about the Kessler Mountain acquisition in conjunction with the regional park. Frank Sharp was the leading supporter of the acquisition and he did a fantastic job. The start of Phase I of the regional park is also a great start on a wonderful project and will be a lasting legacy for Fayetteville.

News release: Phillip McKnight

Phillip has been married to his wife, Angela, for 31 years. Angela, a volunteer with Washington Regional Hospice, is actively involved in the music ministry at Sequoyah United Methodist Church, and is the secretary for the Washington County Cemetery Preservation Group. Phillip and Angela have two daughters who both attended Fayetteville Public Schools grades K-12. Katie earned both a B.S. and a M.S. degree from the University of Arkansas and currently resides in Dallas, Texas. Elizabeth earned a B.S. degree from Texas Tech University and lives in Urbana, Illinois with her husband, Joseph Courtney (a native of Fayetteville), while he completes his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.

Phillip McKnight has served on the Parks and Recreation board since 2011. In the past, he served 6 years as the Treasurer of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. He is a past president of the Arkansas Nurserymen’s Association.

Phillip has been a mentor to a University of Arkansas student organization since 1994. His involvement includes addressing facility opportunities, managing the finances, and personally mentoring students.

Phillip moved to Fayetteville in 1992 to start his career as a horticulture buyer and has been in Fayetteville ever since. Phillip has been active in his neighborhood association and believes that our established neighborhoods should be preserved. Phillip also attends many city councils meetings and Ward 4 meetings. Phillip has worked with his Ward 4 city council members as well as other city council members and the mayor to impact positive changes in our city.

Phillip has always been a proponent of the parks and trail system in the city of Fayetteville and believes that our parks and trails help to build our community. Phillip’s tenure at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks enhanced the growth of not only the facility, but of the membership and attendance. Phillip was instrumental in developing the budget system for the Botanical Gardens that is still being used today. Phillip’s true passion is horticulture and the education of Fayetteville youth on the benefits of horticulture and gardening. Phillip believes that the natural, outdoor beauty of Fayetteville can be preserved by our next generation of youth that understand and cherish our natural environment.

Phillip McKnight is also a strong supporter of youth athletic leagues. With the new regional park and the acquisition of Mount Kessler, the City of Fayetteville is set to become the premier destination for youth sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Phillip has helped Fayetteville to set the bar in northwest Arkansas youth sport participation and believes in an inclusive community where every child can participate in athletics; Phillip believes that compassion for our youth is a proven way to build a strong community. With the Boys and Girls Club in Ward 4 serving as a catalyst for youth sports, we need to invest in opportunities that continue to grow youth participation.

“Fayetteville is built on a foundation of strong community, established neighborhoods, natural beauty and compassion for all citizens. I identify with Fayetteville citizens, I have an investment in our community, and I have helped to grow these aspects of our community through my work with Parks and Recreation and Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. It is with a great respect for the future of Fayetteville that I ask for your support in the 2014 Ward 4 city council election.