when you are trying to salvage some sign of victory from a major
loss, you find out that one of the best positive items on your list
has a serious negative side.
the continuing negotiation with James Mathias, who is nearing the
point of having complete approval to develop an apartment complex
on a couple of acres of wetland prairie in south Fayetteville, the
negatives already loom large:
The 2 acres remaining for development hold their own water and cleanse
the water that falls on them. Developing the land requires a nationwide
permit from the US Corps of Engineers and the law allows the corps
to issue permits for small wetland areas almost routinely with relatively
magnificent savannah-like area that historically was a part of fairly
large piece of prairie along the western side of Town Branch of
the West Fork of the White River between Sixth Street and 15 Street,
the acreage is almost the only such spot that has never been significantly
altered. People who grew up when the land around it was farmed or
used for pasture in the first half of the 20th century say that
the 2-acre wetland was never successfully plowed for a row crop
and was considered too boggy for raising and harvesting hay.
the beauty of the place and the many species of birds that nest
in the trees and low vegetation on the land, allowing it to be paved
and populated seems sinful even if it can be made legal by the touch
of a pen in the hand of a corps official.
the good things is that the developer has agreed to preserve a strip
of trees and other vegetation along the edges of his property to
protect the privacy of the neighbors and to allow a portion of the
birds and wildlife in the area to have a bit of habitat.
is that the developer has agreed to dedicate nearly half an acre
of what was ti gave been a 2.46-acre apartment complex to be used
as a small neighborhood park under the auspices of the city. The
down side of that, of course, is that the park will be on the part
of the land that previously held two houses, basically the only
portion that cannot be legitimately described as wetland. Had the
city's park-advisory board and park department been willing to accept
a piece of prairie wetland as a nature preserve, part of the wetland
could have been saved and the high ground used for building.
biggest consolation in the loss, however, was that the developer
has agreed to install some 650 feet of 8- or 9-inch sewer line to
make certain that the 36 apartment units to be built on the 2-acre
wetland area will not cause sewage backups into the homes of people
who live east of S. Duncan Ave., across the street from the development.
Unfortunately, Stanley Sullins discovered June 6 that the sewer
work will come through his property and likely result in the destruction
of at least a couple of trees that he planted years ago and are
among his favorites!
home already was known to be threatened more than any other building
downstream from the proposed development because it stands near
Town Branch and because the tiny tributary of Town Branch that drains
a large area to the west runs through Sullins' yard, passing threateningly
in front of the house. If a large amount of rain falls in a short
time, the proposed developments' large paved area could send a lot
of water into the proposed detention pond and cause a new level
of flow from the 2 acres, seriously endangering Sullins' home.
looking at the proposed scene of that disaster Saturday afternoon,
all one had to do was turn from looking east and look west to see
that Herman Swafford was busily shoveling dirt and grass out of
the small tributary where it passes through his yard. Why destroy
the prettiest part of his property? His answer was that a city alderman
had told him it was a good idea. Another dark cloud on the Town
is no way to find a silver lining when the cloud will increase the
population of a neighborhood.