Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Historic Uptown Park Avenue is in the middle of a communitywide revitalization. As a business owner and resident for the past three years, I continue to be amazed at the daily accomplishments that are occurring to create a more positive neighborhood.
Recently, Traffic Services installed a pedestrian-activated crosswalk sign at Park and Reid Street. That will help pedestrians cross safely, benefit local businesses and hopefully slow traffic down.
The city of Hot Springs is working with the residents to install a "Welcome to Uptown" sign that required city officials to investigate the sign code closely to determine that it could be done. The Light Uptown Project, sidewalks, David Watkins Park, crosswalks, rain gardens, covered bus stops and more community involvement are all positive changes that are occurring. Community Development Block Grants and Park Avenue Community Association have had an instrumental part in the redeveloping of Park Avenue. Thank you!
Several weeks ago, the city manager, David Frasher, the police chief, Jason Stachey, and several police officers and two Park residents sat down to discuss the city of Hot Springs Police Department firing range located at DeSoto Park. The outdoor firing range is a noise nuisance and they discussed building noise buffers to mitigate the shots that are fired day and night. I commend them on the idea of building a berm with possible vegetation to dampen the noise, but consider looking into the future and planning for an indoor range. The range location will not change, but Park Avenue residents and visitors should not be forced to listen to gunshots without a plan in place to eliminate the noise. I support the city of Hot Springs Police Department fully and support a long-term goal of creating an indoor firing range for the police officers.
I also discussed future plans of Park Avenue with a Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce employee and was dismayed to hear from them that the "demographics and data" would not offer any economic development on Park Avenue. The Northwoods Trail, funded in part by the Walton Foundation and Visit Hot Springs, is a great example of a partnership that will improve our area and increase the quality of life. Not only will Hot Springs bring in a new tourism aspect, the residents of Park Avenue will benefit from hiking and biking trails.
Private investors are beginning to take notice of the fun, eclectic neighborhood and the community that it offers. Houses, motor courts and mansions that have been vacant for too long are being revitalized. Cottage Courts is the latest revitalization project that is attractive and thriving. Residents and community developers will continue to be the important drivers in the progress.
Park Avenue is a unique and vibrant community with a bright future and I'm proud to be a champion for Park Avenue.
Editorial on 12/06/2017
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