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Another step for 'new urbanism' on E. Oak and Harkrider

Posted: July 22, 2014 - 7:20pm
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A conceptual illustration of the "new urbanism" design standards planned for E. Oak Street and Harkrider Street.
A conceptual illustration of the "new urbanism" design standards planned for E. Oak Street and Harkrider Street.

The Conway City Council signed off Tuesday night on tree and planter guidelines that were one of the last things to be ironed out by the city in its plan to expand a “new urbanism” city planning philosophy beyond downtown.

The design guidelines will be implemented in the next few months as the CVS pharmacy, MedExpress and the Arvest Bank redevelop property at Oak and Harkrider, further east on Oak by Layla’s Gyros and at Factory and Oak, respectively. As the cost of building the much wider sidewalks and tree planters will fall on developers, these businesses have been called “trend setters” in a long-range plan to have the tree-lined, wide sidewalks on Oak all the way from downtown to Ingram Street and on Harkrider from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to Hendrix College.

With the city’s design guidelines in place, approval from Conway Corp and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department remains before the design guidelines can be implemented. Councilman David Grimes said that he’d like to see Conway Corp use the redevelopments and their additional utility right-of-way to install more underground power lines.

Tyler Winningham, the city’s financial officer, reported that the general fund, which is stretched thin after a few years of “flat” sales tax, is holding about the same course. Sales tax revenue is about half of a percent down for the first 6 months of 2014 compared to the first 6 months of 2013, which continues to leave the general fund with “no room for anything fancy or expansive,” Mayor Tab Townsell said.

In other business, the council approved:

• Requests the Faulkner County Tax Collector place to place certified liens on certain properties as a result of incurred expenses by the City (cleanup/mowing at Duncan and Millwood street properties). No property owner was present to speak to the liens.

• A resolution expressing the willingness of the City of Conway to partner with the AHTD for the project on Dave Ward Drive I-40 to East German Lane (associated with the Sam’s Club development).

• A resolution expressing the willingness of the City to partner with the AHTD for the project I-40/Hwy 64 traffic operations improvements.

• Awarding the Bids for a 20, 30, & 40 yard Hook Lift Roll-off containers for the Conway Sanitation Department to N.E.O. FAB, the low bidder at $41,900 to be paid out of the city’s sanitation fund, which is separate from the general fund.

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lachowsj
6080
Points
lachowsj 07/23/14 - 07:42 am
1
0
I'm all for it...but

New Urbanism does not work by just changing the appearance of buildings and the width of sidewalks. The first step has to be an increase in residential density and an assurance that necessary services such as grocery are within walking distance. I do hope that the focus, "on Oak all the way from downtown to Ingram Street and on Harkrider from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to Hendrix College" is not an overreach.

Rose
6
Points
Rose 07/23/14 - 12:00 pm
2
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Urbanization

Oh yes, I remember urbanization in the 40's. We walked to the neighborhood store because everyone did not have a car. Remember, WWII was happening so only a few had cars such as a Doctor. We had sidewalks because we walked everywhere. There was no Walmart or Kroger. If you were lucky, you were near a city bus route and could take the bus. My Dad rode a bike to work. Suburbs came later when more and more people had cars. With the bulb outs, all the plantings, trees, who will maintain them and at what expense. Trees in the bulb outs grow and have roots, and spread branches. How often will they have to be replaced. Will the roots damage the roads as they do grow under the ground. Will the trees have to be trimmed every year, and at what expense. A lot of people seem to be confused in the larger roundabouts, have accidents increased over the amount when there was a Stop sign or a 4-way Stop light. Now, almost everyone has a car, some families with children have three or four cars. Do you really think they are going to WALK. Be careful what you wish for.

Budnmud
22715
Points
Budnmud 07/23/14 - 12:07 pm
2
0
yes i recall

We walked to the corner store at Mitchell and Independence. Later when we moved, Harwoods Grocery was in walking distance. I also rode my bike or go-kart when in need of a soda or pack of BBs. Then there was LPs Grocery and bait.

So yes times changed, I cant imagine our kids or grand kids walking to the store.

The development at Hendrix looks really nice. What they are lacking is a neighborhood store.

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