"Dangerous" Road Targeted in Bryant Special Election

BRYANT, AR - Maurice Thompson volunteers at the Senior Center in Bryant as a bus driver. He makes multiple trips to and from the center every day and when he does he has to take Boone Road whether he likes it or not.

It's mostly not.

Boone Road sees about 4000 cars every day.

"It's so narrow," Maurice showed as he drove the bus. "You're at the mercy of the traffic that's coming."

The two lane drive connects Reynolds on the East to Alcoa on the West and Maurice thinks it has some problem areas like open ditches rather than shoulders.

"See how deep that is there?" Maurice asked as he pointed out the side of the road. "I've got these old folks on here... if this bus rolled over or something it would be horrible."

According to the City of Bryant that's not too uncommon.

"We've actually had roll-over accidents multiple times on this road since the park has opened," explained Mayor Jill Dabbs. 

Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs says Boone Road is very underdeveloped for the amount of traffic it sees. No shoulders, open ditches and drainage being the main problems. 

A special election on May 20th could change that if everyone is on board.

Because, there have been concerns.

"Privacy and protection during the construction," remarked Victoria Washington.

Washington says the city has ensured her neighborhood, which backs up to Boone Road, those concerns would be monitored and construction would fix the other pressing issues.

"It's very narrow," Washington added. "There are no sidewalks on Boone Road."

Voters would have to approve three options on the ballot.

In order for funding to go to fixing Boone Road and fixing up parks, voters will need to vote "yes" for all four questions on the ballot. If they're against the repairs, vote "no".

The first question on the ballot is about recalling the bond that built Bishop Park. Essentially it would be a refinancing of that bond since the City is paying it off at a rate of 10-11 years faster than expected and they have extra money.

The second question is a financing tool that gives the City a better interest rate on repaying the bond by using the 1/8 cent park operation and maintenance tax as collateral.

The third is approving the use of the money on the overhaul of Boone Road.

The fourth is approving the use of the money for infrastructure improvements on the parks.

If approved the City expects to start engineering planning immediately, start construction in 2015 and have the road finished in 18-24 months.

It would cost the city $10 million while actually not costing tax payers anything since the bond is just a "refinancing" of the bond they approved that built Bishop Park a few years ago.

"Whether this passes or fails the city of Bryant's tax rate will not change," said Mayor Dabbs.

What some say it will do is ease minds.

"It would be real important ... driving it like I do each day," said Maurice. 

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