mobile-home park north of 1101 South Duncan Ave. has been sold and
everyone who lives there has been ordered to move away.
first mobile home was towed from the site Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003.
woman who owns the home reported that she is moving to an established
park on the periphery of Fayetteville. She will have a bit farther
to drive to work each day, but her situation is not as bad as that
of others displaced by the sale of the park.
on Wednesday said they still have no idea where they will be moving.
The buyer of the park reportedly has agreed to pay for moving the
trailers, at lease up to a specified cost. Otherwise, many of the
people would have no choice but to abandon their property. However,
even those who find a space for their mobile homes expect to face
an additional cost.
have lived in the same place for many years and express the sense
of loss that anyone who loses his home feels. Just because their
houses are portable doesn't mean they want to leave the tree-shaded
site where they have lived, in some cases, for decades.
mobile-home park on 11th Street covers several acres of savannah
or partially timbered prairie. Until the 1930s, it was part of a
dairy farm owned by the Wilson family. For some time after that,
it was part of a traditional farm owned by the Dunn family. When
a portion of the farm was subdivided, it became known as the Wilson-Dunn
mobile homes were situated on an almost flat area of moist-soil
prairie where a wide variety of hardwood trees have grown tall and
magnificent over the years.
there is little pavement in the mobile-home park, rainwater soaks
slowly into the ground as it always has and stands on the surface
for a time after each rain. This water replenishes the shallow underground
aquifer. There is seldom significant runoff from the site because
of the soil type. The roots of the mature trees in the area prevent
erosion and take up a lot of the moisture. Meanwhile, the majestic
canopy formed by the branches shaded the mobile homes and kept utility
bills relatively low. Ozark or Osage burrowing crayfish are plentiful
in the area. These creatures do not live in the Town Branch with
their more common cousins. They inhabit the aquifer and surface
through chimneys formed from the mud they displace as they tunnel
to the surface when the aquifer is full.
who live nearby, particularly those who live along the Town Branch
of the West Fork of the White River, have expressed fear that a
different sort of housing facility in the same area will increase
the potential for flooding along the Town Branch.
for development of the site have not been made public. However,
the buyer has been quoted as saying he has plans in the works to
build numerous buildings in the area as well as upstream on the
west side of Town Branch. Additionally, the same buyer has begun
to take possession of parcels of land on the east side of Town Branch
immediately to the west of South Hill Avenue.
many apartments, town houses or other multi-family dwellings will
be constructed on the east side of the Town Branch. While the high
ground along S. Hill is wetland prairie or savannah similar to that
in the 11th Street mobile-home park, a significant area between
the existing homes on S. Hill Ave. and the Town Branch between Sixth
Street and 11th Street is wooded lowland wetland that historically
has caught and slowed runoff from rain that frequently floods the
to the north of Sixth Street, most of the land is developed. Fayetteville
High School and the University own much of the headwater area of
the Town Branch.
of the water from the Cleveland Street and Razorback Road intersection
and Cleveland and Garland intersection flows south and drains through
the valley around Razorback Stadium, Walton Arena and the architect-designed
Carlson Terrace married-student housing project. Water on the north
side of Cleveland Street flows to the Illinois River watershed.
more and more of the land in the Town Branch watershed has been
paved or roofed over, the flooding of Town Branch to the south has
constantly increased. People who have lived along the west side
of Ellis Avenue and the east side of Van Buren Ave. have seen high
water in their back yards and the water has entered a house or two
and threatened several.
widely recognized historical events have been connected to the portion
of Town Branch now slated for development.
Trail of Tears included camping sites in the area because of the
many springs and natural ponds that provided travelers abundant
and clean water. A sign near the south end of the UA soccer field
commemorates a time when 1,100 Cherokees camped around the ponds
that formerly were near what is now Sixth Street.
Butterfield Stagecoach Line used the route that is now South Hill
Ave. and 11th Street and South Duncan Avenue to take travelers from
Fayetteville to Van Buren by way of Hogeye. Several houses on South
Hill Avenue and South Duncan Avenue are well over 100 years old
and deserve protection for their historic status as much as any
buildings in Northwest Arkansas. Some people in the neighborhood
have lived in the same houses for 60 or 70 years. Many have lived
in the neighborhood for more than 50 years.
of the Town Branch Neighborhood Association have expressed concern
not only about the flooding that could result from proposed development
and the potential loss of trees and natural vegetation but also
about the loss of historically significant sites that as yet have
not been investigated and fully documented by archeologists or historians.
No one knows how many burial sites may be in the area or how many
prehistoric dwelling sites may be hidden by topsoil and vegetation
in the Town Branch watershed.
hydrology of the area has never been studied to determine where
the springs flow from or how big the underground caverns may be
or what rare species may inhabit them. The aquifer is an unexplored
underground maze that sustains not only the vegetation but also
the wildlife and, as recently as the 1950s, provided all the water
for many people who lived in the surrounding area.
small pieces of land that have never been developed were left alone
because of their hydrological characteristics. With the relatively
new Stormwater II federal regulations facing them, planners of the
city of Fayetteville can be expected to look closely at all proposed
changes in the area before issuing permits.
a 2-acre parcel of moist-soil prairie west of 1101 and 1121 S. Duncan
and immediately to the south of the 11th Street mobile-home park
has been approved for development as an apartment complex; and its
developer has been issued a so-called nationwide dredge and fill
permit by the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
parcel is of extremely rare quality because it has never been fully
plowed and retains not only its water-absorbing soil but also a
diverse stock of native plants displaying a constantly changing
wildflower show throughout the growing season. The corps permit
for the 2 acres requires that the water-retaining hydric soil and
the seeds deposited there this fall be moved to the area slated
for detaining water at the south end of the parcel. A sample of
the flowering plants on that 2-acre parcel is documented in several
photo albums on http://www.aubunique.com.
of the Town Branch Neighborhood Association plan to meet with those
planning to develop the historic area to learn specifics of their
plans and a report will appear on aubunique.com soon.
James Shepherd, Sept. 10, 2003