Tuesday, August 26, 2008

SouthPass - It Just Gets Worse

The Fayetteville Planning Commission learned last night that preliminary traffic estimates for the SouthPass development are 40,500 cars per day roaring in and out of the latest idea for sprawl on Shiloh Drive. But that is only part of the problem. The other shoe that has not yet dropped is the staggering infrastructure cost to the city to provide water, sewer, and roads to the developers' project. Then there is that park that the city administration thinks makes it alright to ignore City Plan 2025.

Connie Edmonston, Mayor Coody's Parks and Recreation Director and Head Cheerleader for the SouthPass developers, said the cost of the mega sports park near the old landfill is estimated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million, but that does not include the cost of infrastructure. The parks department is sitting on $2.8 million dedicated to the regional park that could be used to build and develop neighborhood parks throughout the city. Edmondston thinks she will get another $1 million for the park from the developers, who have not even given the city a deed to the proposed park.

The Parks staff is now trying to tell us that we should build this park not for Fayetteville's families but for "economic development" by hosting giant soccer tournaments. Here's a better idea. Forget SouthPass, and buy that land on Morningside for a big soccer park, since the school district isn't going to use it. Then build some community and neighborhood parks in the city limits on the west side of town, which the Parks and Recreaction Department has ignored for the last six years.

Be sure to ask the candidates for Mayor and City Council where they stand on approving this disaster. So far, Dan Coody and Steve Clark have expressed unqualified support for it. Let's get everyone on record and ask how they intend to pay for this looming debacle and why it is more important than neighborhood parks and the essential goals of City Plan 2025.

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