Farm­ing­ton Cit­i­zens Of­fer In­put

IDEAS FOR COM­MU­NITY IN­CLUDE SPLASH PARK, CLEAN CITY, TOWN CEN­TER

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARM­ING­TON — About 35 peo­ple dropped by City Hall on a re­cent Satur­day morn­ing to give their ideas on the fu­ture of Farm­ing­ton and many said they are glad city of­fi­cials are ask­ing for cit­i­zen in­put.

Pam Marsh and her hus­band moved to Farm­ing­ton from St. Louis, Mo., about three years ago to be near rel­a­tives in the area.

She agreed with many of the ideas al­ready writ­ten down on large sheets of pa­per.

She likes the idea of a town square or town cen­ter as a gath­er­ing place and would like to see more trails. Marsh said she and her hus­band hike the trails on Kessler Moun­tain.

Of­fi­cials with Farm­ing­ton City Coun­cil, Farm­ing­ton Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and city staff, along with con­sul­tant Teresa Ray, have held two brain­storm­ing ses­sions to work on a strate­gic plan to guide the city for the next five to 10 years. Ray has helped the city with plan­ning in the past.

Large pieces of pa­per were set out on ta­bles at City Hall with dif­fer­ent top­ics for each pa­per. Cit­i­zens were asked to write down any ideas or thoughts they had about the top­ics, which in­cluded streets, parks and recre­ation, a town cen­ter, ex­pand­ing the pub­lic li­brary, a city fes­ti­val or a in­dus­trial or busi­ness dis­trict.

Resident Jill To­er­ing, said she be­lieves in­put is im­por­tant but she also wants to see “fol­low through” from the in­put.

One of her rec­om­men­da­tions she jot­ted on the pa­pers in­cluded im­prov­ing Clyde Carnes Road.

“It’s start­ing to crum­ble and

needs con­stant main­te­nance,” To­er­ing said.

To­er­ing said she agrees with a town cen­ter that is sim­i­lar to Mock Park in Prairie Grove. Mock Park has benches, large trees and an open grassy area for events, such as con­certs and jam ses­sions.

To­er­ing also would like to see park­ing lots paved and is in­ter­ested in mak­ing Main Street more beau­ti­ful with nice look­ing side­walks, flower pots and other ameni­ties.

Jim McFa­trick moved from Farm­ing­ton to Texas in 2000 and re­turned in 2016. McFa­trick said he doesn’t like what he’s see­ing now in Farm­ing­ton.

“When we left here, Farm­ing­ton was a nice town. It’s started to look junky,” McFa­trick said.

He re­ferred to old cars parked in yards, porches and car­ports filled with junk and other eye­sores.

“You have one per­son that takes care of those or­di­nances and that same per­son is in charge of in­spec­tions for new houses. He doesn’t have time to do it,” McFa­trick said.

His rec­om­mends city of­fi­cials clean up the city first be­fore spend­ing any money.

“It’s go­ing to grow any­way,” McFa­trick said.

If the com­mu­nity is cleaned up, more peo­ple will want to come here and the mar­ket value of houses will go up, McFa­trick said.

Texas has laws that pro­hibit res­i­dents from park­ing boats, trail­ers and other types of ex­tra ve­hi­cles in front of a house. The ve­hi­cles have to be hid­den be­hind a solid fence. McFa­trick said an or­di­nance sim­i­lar to the Texas law would help beau­tify Farm­ing­ton.

Like oth­ers, McFa­trick said he thought the pub­lic in­put meet­ing was a good idea and hoped a lot of peo­ple would drop by to give their own com­ments.

Joshua Frye, who is pres­i­dent of Farm­ing­ton Ki­wa­nis Club, said he saw a lot of re­dun­dancy on the posters and won­dered if a meet­ing would be more pro­duc­tive if peo­ple were di­vided into groups with a moder­a­tor to fa­cil­i­tate a thor­ough and open dis­cus­sion among peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

Frye has been in­volved with some strate­gic plan­ning meet­ings with Lincoln schools and the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas and said break­ing up into groups forces peo­ple to col­lab­o­rate with each other and the in­ter­ac­tion fu­els mul­ti­ple ideas.

“All of these are great things we should con­sider,” Frye said but noted he was not see­ing any ideas that were “out­side the box.”

Jeff Webb of Farm­ing­ton said he be­lieves it’s crit­i­cal for com­mu­nity buy-in when im­ple­ment­ing ideas. He was in­ter­ested in the changes at Creek­side Park, more trails and ty­ing into the Fayet­teville trail sys­tem and pos­si­bly a splash park for chil­dren.

Ray said she will take the writ­ten com­ments and as­sign some of them to com­mit­tees to dis­cuss on how to im­ple­ment and what’s left will be sent to the City Coun­cil to pri­or­i­tize.

The pub­lic meet­ing also pro­vided a space for peo­ple to sign up if they are in­ter­ested in serv­ing on a city com­mit­tee. Sev­eral peo­ple signed up on this list.

Mayor Ernie Penn said the city still wants com­ments from peo­ple who were not able to attend the pub­lic meet­ing. Send com­ments to melis­sam­c­carville@cityof farm­ing­ton-ar.gov.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Jill To­er­ing of Farm­ing­ton jots down ideas she has for the fu­ture of Farm­ing­ton. The city is go­ing through a strate­gic plan­ning process to de­velop a guide­line for the next 5-10 years and held a pub­lic com­ment meet­ing to gather in­put from lo­cal cit­i­zens.

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