Council Member Sarah Bunch is seeking a second term on the Fayetteville City Council.
Bunch, 57, hopes to keep the Ward 2, Position 2 seat that she first won in 2016. She faces Peter Tonnessen, who also filed for the position.
She said there are several projects in the works that she’d like to see completed, like the new police headquarters facility that voters approved in 2019.
Bunch also said she’s excited about some transportation improvement projects in Ward 3 like the widening of Zion Road from Crossover Road to Vantage Drive and an upcoming project to improve Rolling Hills Drive.
Bunch said she’s proud of the council’s help in expanding the Fayetteville Public Library into a more modern facility that does more than just house books.
“The expansion of our library showcases what a library can be in the 21st century and it’s so much more than just books,” she said. “It can be a hub of community activity, and it can provide educational, recreational, as well as employment related opportunities.”
As a real estate professional, Bunch said if re-elected, she’ll support initiatives to help Fayetteville remain a safe place to live and raise a family.
“I am a proponent of safer streets, with slower speeds and better crosswalks,” she said. “I want to see that our trail system is expanded as we are able to because close proximity to a trail, and a higher walkability score don’t just mean recreational opportunities, but they also raise the value of nearby homes.”
Ward 3 includes several neighborhoods in northeast Fayetteville, including the Huntingdon and Candlewood subdivisions, as well as the newer multi-family complexes in the uptown area. Gulley Park, Fiesta Square, Lake Fayetteville, and the Northwest Arkansas Mall are also in Ward 3.
The election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Profile: Sarah Bunch
Position sought: Ward 3, Position 2
Residency: Born and raised in NWA, lived in Fayetteville for over 34 years
Employment: Realtor with Keller Williams Market Pro Realty in Fayetteville.
Education: B.A. English, University of Arkansas; Graduate, Mid-South School of Banking
Political Experience: City Council Member in Ward 3, served six years on the Fayetteville Planning Commission
Meet the Candidates
The following candidates are running for election this year. All candidates were sent a request for more information about their candidacy. Responses are posted in the order they’re received.
Why run for another term? Is there anything in particular you plan to introduce or continue working toward?
Fayetteville is consistently rated one of the best places to live in the country, and I want to keep it that way. There are a lot of projects in the works I would like to see reach fruition. We have Phase 1 projects of our recent bond issue shaping up. In particular, our new Public Safety Campus, containing a much needed new Police Headquarters and new Fire Station, should be breaking ground soon and be completed in less than two years. Additionally, there are several transportation projects in Ward 3 that are in the works including improvements to Zion Road and Rolling Hills, a new stoplight and crosswalk at Old Wire Road and Old Missouri Road, and trail improvements that I would love to continue to be a part of.
My goals, if re-elected, are to ensure our city remains a safe place to live and raise a family. I am a proponent of safer streets, with slower speeds and better crosswalks. I want to see that our trail system is expanded as we are able to because close proximity to a trail, and a higher walkability score don’t just mean recreational opportunities, but they also raise the value of nearby homes I favor well thought out development that creates a variety of housing types as well as additional new commercial space, but keeps suburban sprawl at a minimum. I will work hard to ensure we have a vibrant economy that supports retail, restaurants, as well as other businesses and industry that will create new jobs. I’ve had a wonderful life in Fayetteville, and I want the generations who come behind me to experience the same opportunities that I have had. These include living in a safe city with the chance to have a good job, a decent home, and expanded entertainment and recreational amenities.
What drove you to reside in Ward 3? How would you describe that part of town?
At the time I moved into Ward 3 I was drawn to my North Sequoyah neighborhood because it was well established, quiet, had lots of trees, and was centrally located. There is a band of green space woven through my subdivision, and it isn’t uncommon to see deer and foxes in my yard. My neighborhood is a friendly place where people watch out for each other, and I’ve always felt safe here. Ward 3 has four public schools as well as several private schools, so as a whole, it’s a very family oriented. It is a mix of older and newer subdivisions sprinkled with hills and greenspace. In the older neighborhoods like mine, it isn’t uncommon to see young homeowners living next to people who’ve owned their home for 30+ years. Our ward has several parks including the widely used Lake Fayetteville Park and Gulley Park. I now enjoy improved access to Gulley Park via the walking/biking path along Old Wire and better trail connections to Lake Fayetteville and the Razorback Greenway. This part of town contains a lot of businesses and commercial areas including the mall, Joyce Boulevard, and parts of College Avenue. Butterfield Trail Village is located in Ward 3, so we have a large population of seniors as well. Ward 3 has a lot to offer. I love my ward, and think most other residents feel the same way.
Are there any council decisions you are especially proud of or frustrated with during your most recent term?
I am very proud of the expansion of our parks and trails especially the newly created Centennial Park cyclocross and mountain biking facilities. These facilities will soon be connected with Kessler Mountain and the U of A. These facilities will not only be used by residents of Fayetteville, but can also have a positive impact on our economy as people visit Fayetteville to participate in events like the scheduled 2022 Cyclocross World Championships.
I am also proud of our council’s multiple efforts to create new opportunities for our restaurants and bars to continue to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic. These include establishing an Outdoor Recreation Area in our downtown that allows patrons to purchase drinks and take the drinks outside of a bar or restaurant. This, combined with new pocket parks on some streets, allow people to support the businesses while maintaining social distancing. I know these measures aren’t perfect, and will in no way take business sales back to pre-Covid levels, but I hope they will help alleviate some of the loss businesses are experiencing.