Courts complex choice fails long-term test
It is unfortunate the new county courts complex is going to be built in downtown Bentonville. The money expended on the site study for the Southwest 14th Street location was a waste of taxpayer funds. That location was never given serious consideration despite being a better long-term solution.
There exists a mistaken belief that the courts complex drives the downtown economic engine. I would argue the opposite. Construction is going to affect businesses. Traffic congestion will be a long-term problem. Disruption to court operations will occur, and long term consequences of the decision will become evident. It makes no sense from the standpoint of long-term strategic urban planning. The mixture of neighborhoods, recreational areas, stores, restaurants, etc., does not co-exist or benefit from a courts complex and parking garage. Judicial complexes are more efficient when centralized, allowing for savings on manpower and transportation costs, enhancement of security, and room for expansion. The downtown location accomplishes none of this.
The initial overall savings may amount to several million dollars, but 15 to 20 years from now, the same issue of inadequate space will be revisited. Visionary planning thinks ahead to the future, recognizing long-term needs and objectives. I don’t see that happening with this decision. MARK BERNTHAL Bella Vista