FAYETTEVILLE — The city will soon be the owner of a home and surrounding property at the intersection of Gregg Avenue and Jocelyn Lane.
City Council members on Tuesday voted 8-0 to purchase the land as part of a project that requires the closure of the nearby railroad crossing in order to build a new crossing about a mile north.
The new crossing is one of two crossings planned along Gregg Avenue that will provide access to 130 acres of undeveloped land west of Gregg and south of Van Asche Drive. Conceptual plans for the land include a mixture of residential properties, restaurant and retail space and an expansion of Washington Regional Medical Center.
Officials with Arkansas & Missouri Railroad agreed to allow the city to construct the new crossings, but only if the city agreed to remove two other crossings somewhere in Fayetteville.
The first swap will exchange a new crossing at Shiloh Drive for the removal of a crossing at University Avenue. As part of that plan, a pedestrian and bicycle crossing will be constructed so as not to completely cut off access at the end of University Avenue.
The second swap is for a crossing at Futrall Drive, which calls for removal of the crossing at Jocelyn Lane. The street, which runs west from Gregg across from Stone Mill Bread Co., currently provides access to one driveway and home, and includes an access point for the city’s trail system to the west.
The original plan was to extend the driveway to the home south toward Township Street, but staff said that would require constructing a creek bridge which would push the total cost of the extension to over $1 million. To reduce the cost, staff proposed to instead purchase the property, which the owners agreed to at a cost of $525,000.
Trail users who normally take the Jocelyn Lane spur could use the Quality Lane access point to the north or ride along the extra wide sidewalk between Township Street and Gordon Long Park.
Staff said if the plans for the new development are completed as proposed, the cost of the railroad crossings would be recovered by tax receipts from the construction alone, resulting in a net profit to the city’s tax base beginning in the first year after construction.