Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Site Too Far

Congratulations to Tim Hudson and the members of the Future of FHS Select Committee 2 who have worked tirelessly and for free -- pro bono publico -- in the public interest. They have devoted significant time and efforts to developing the appropriate criteria for determining the best location for Fayetteville High School. Most of the time, they did so with good cheer, only occasionally whining about the passionate opinions expressed by a concerned public.

They determined that
cost to the taxpayers, space, proximity to the population center, aesthetics, fit with City Plan 2025, parking and access, impact of construction on school, access to emergency services, access to the University of Arkansas, and existing infrastructure were most relevant to the decision. Tomorrow they will frame a recommendation between the current central site and the Morningside Drive site for presentation to the School Board on Thursday. What the University of Arkansas decides to do now assumes even greater importance in influencing the final outcome, and no one should pretend otherwise.

The decision against recommending the Deane Solomon site is a sign that rationality prevailed to slow the march of
Bobby New and the Cowbirds to push rampant development to Sprawlville west of I-540. The closing of Jefferson and the construction of Owl Creek; the abandonment of the accessible Boys and Girls Club near the high school for an isolated site on Ruppple Road in the far west; and the ill-advised multi-million dollar purchase of the Deane Solomon site from developer Tracy Hoskins near one of Brandon Barber's failed developments cannot be undone. However, future decisions can be more sensible and in the public interest instead of special interests.

Of course, Steve Percival Howard Hamilton, Susan Heil, and the other members of the School Board can ignore the Select Committee's recommendation altogether and go with the Cowbirds.

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