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Posted March 21, 2004

Aubrey's Notebook:
Town Branch Neighborhood Needs Help To Save Wetland Prairie

The Town Branch Neighborhood Association still has the opportunity to preserve the remnant of wetland prairie between 11th and 12th streets west of 1121 South Duncan Ave. in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The association must gather support in order to prevent development from proceeding on the 2.46-acre parcel of wetland prairie already approved for dredging and filling by the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

Months ago, Mr. James Mathias received approval from the corps and the city of Fayetteville's planning division to build three buildings with 36 apartments and more than 60 parking plans on the 2-acre western portion of the parcel.

Mr. Mathias agreed to sell the land for preservation to protect the integrity of the neighborhood and to maintain the natural habitat, asking only to break even on his outlay of money on the project.

Fayetteville's Tree and Trail Task Force voted early in 2004 to ask Mayor Dan Coody to negotiate to purchase the land to be protected from development and to become a part of the city's trail system.

Unfortunately, the city can use no more of its money than the appraised price of the land, $86,000, to buy the land. The developer, however, has significantly more invested.

A few people in the neighborhood have agreed to contribute to the fund. However, at least $30,000 more is needed to complete the deal. And the mayor and city council must be convinced of the need and appropriateness of the purchase for it to be completed.

The environmental significance of the parcel is well documented here on this Web site and also contains transcripts of testimony of members of the neighborhood attesting to the need to protect wetland in the area and to make certain that new development does not damage the integrity of the neighborhood or increase flooding or water-quality degradation along the Town Branch and its tributaries.

The bottom line is now the same bottom line that appears in so many stories in life.

Money must be raised as soon as possible.


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Aubrey James Shepherd
Fayetteville, AR © 2003, 2004, 2005

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