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Monday, December 21, 2009

Democrat/Gazette December 21, 2009, editorial advocating saving sale-barn land for Fayetteville National Cemetery pleases majority of veterans and neighbors, but the problem is that saving Town Branch homeowners from flooding downhill from the cemetery is still being ignored: VA already at work preparing to dredge and fill wetland and pipe stormwater directly to Hill Avenue and thus to the 11th Street bridge on the Town Branch

Please click on individual photos to ENLARGE view of wetland area along the north edge of the Fayetteville National Cemetery being prepared for dredging and filling for grave sites. The depressional wetland developed over centuries because it is above a bedrock karst area where groundwater sinks into the underground caverns and aquifers and reduces surface-water flooding. When it is piped to the Town Branch it will further aggravate the flooding danger between Ellis and Van Buren avenues already created by the University of Arkansas' failure properly to manage stormwater on the campus and by paving and development along Martin Luther King Boulevard and on the Aspen Ridge/Hill Place project.


Save acres for vets

Now buy the land for the cemetery


Monday, December 21, 2009
LITTLE ROCK — LIKE WARM Arkansas Christmases, dry eyes after It’s a Wonderful Life, and little boys from the Natural State scribbling “LSU gear” on their annual wish lists, some things are just not meant to be. That’s the way it seems with the controversial student apartments that apparently won’t be built in south Fayetteville. You know, where Washington County’s historic livestock auction house operated until June.
A lawsuit that sought to override the city’s denial of a rezoning request seems to be kaput. Campus Crest developers of North Carolina wanted to buy the property from the auction house’s owner, Bill Joe Bartholomew, and build 200 apartments on the property. But the drawn-out legal ordeal surrounding this purchase became just too much to bear. Mr. Bartholomew now wants his suit dismissed.
The proposed sale to Campus Crest became a flashpoint for veterans and others last summer. They wanted to secure the site across Government Street from the city’s National Cemetery so they might preserve the sacred nature of that location. They basically argued that more student apartments in an overbuilt Fayetteville wasn’t an appropriate use of the land. They had a point. The former auction barn parcel does provide an ideally located space to enlarge this rapidly filling cemetery.
Fayetteville’s council denied Mr. Bartholomew’s request to rezone his property. The rezoning would have sealed the sale and enabled Campus Crest to purchase and develop the property. That’s when Mr. Bartholomew filed his suit against the city.


This latest development means the corporation that oversees the cemetery’s operation, Congress, the national office of Veteran’s Affairs, and veterans’ organizations need to find a way to purchase this property. The space needs to be preserved and protected as a final resting place for our veterans in the decades to come.

Jim Buckner, a former military officer and a leader in the Arkansas division of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, fought valiantly to preserve this property for the cemetery and future fellow veterans. And while the corporation that manages operations for national cemeteries seems to favor expanding the graveyard in an entirely different direction, it needs to acquire these nine acres as well. Few will argue that every cemetery will only grow larger, especially as long as there are veterans.
Mr. Bartholomew, who’s left without a buyer, has earned a sale after everything he’s been through. He’s undoubtedly disappointed that he had to drop his legal challenge. But as everyone knows, any lawsuit can drag on and on with virtually no end in sight. And no potential buyer wants that much uncertainty.
No one can blame Mr. Bartholomew for wanting to sell his property. After all, it’s his property. Today, he shrugs and says he’s just going to “wait and see what happens.”
His bad luck in all this came solely because this sale barn that operated for 70 years happened to lie across the street from one of Arkansas’ three national cemeteries-and this one also happens to be running out of space. Those who both manage and patronize this cemetery now should work diligently to find a way to buy the property.
Editorial, Pages 14 on 12/21/2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Appeal of City Council denial of approval for apartments next to Fayetteville National Cemetery dropped by auction-barn owner

NWAOnline.com

Landowner Drops Zoning Lawsuit

By Skip Descant

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE — An effort to build college student apartments on the site of the former Washington County Livestock Auction is likely further away than ever.

Billy Joe Bartholomew, the barn’s owner, said the prospect of lengthy litigation to acquire city permission to build on the site prompted Campus Crest, an apartment development company, to lose interest in the project.

“If I could have gotten them down to maybe six months, then maybe they would have stayed interested,” Bartholomew said Monday.

Bartholomew filed a motion to dismiss his lawsuit against the city Monday.

The former livestock barn plodded its way through a lengthy and controversial rezoning process, as neighbors and veterans groups came out against North Carolina-based Campus Crest’s plans to build some 200 apartments on the 9-acre site.

The veterans opposed development of student-focused apartments just across Government Street from the Fayetteville National Cemetery, saying the use was incompatible with the hallowed ground reserved for honoring those who served the nation in the military.

The Fayetteville City Council denied Bartholomew’s request to rezone the property from heavy commercial/light industrial to downtown general, a zoning that would have cleared the way for the Campus Crest project. Bartholomew responded by appealing the city’s decision in Washington County Circuit Court, a process that may have dragged out for months, if not beyond a year.

“If you don’t know how long it will take, it’s hard to ask people to wait that long,” Bartholomew said.

For now, Bartholomew isn’t sure what the future holds for the sale barn, which closed its doors in June after more than 70 years in operation. He does not currently have a buyer.

“I’m just going to wait and see what happens,” Bartholomew said.

Campus Crest officials could not be reached Monday afternoon for comment.

That’s terrific,” veteran Jim Buckner said when he learned Bartholomew had dropped the legal challenge. “I think it’s good news for the veterans. It really does clear some things up for us.”

Buckner is a former military officer and is senior vice-commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Arkansas Division.

Although the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. that formally oversees operation of the cemetery has said it wants to expand in another direction, Buckner said Monday he still wants to see the Bartholomews’ property used to expand the cemetery.

Bucker, who helped lead opposition to the student apartments, said he hopes Congress will authorize and fund the purchase of the former auction site through the Department of Veterans Affairs, or that local veterans can somehow raise enough money to buy it.

Ron Wood contributed to this report.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Town Hall meeting starts at 7 tonight Yvonne Richardson Center

Town Hall Meeting to be Held December 14, 2009

Mayor Lioneld Jordan will be holding the final Town Hall Meeting of the year at the Yvonne Richardson Community Center on Monday, December 14, from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to come. The Yvonne Richardson Community Center is located at 240 East Rock Street.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thanks to Walmart, the December 12, 2009, Wreath Day at the Fayetteville National Cemetery was wonderful, but daring to park in wetland where VA plans to expand cemetery was a bad choice for several people who attended the ceremony

Please click on still images to ENLARGE view of photos and click start arrow to view video and watch for spot to click to view full screen size.

Wreath Day mistake sinks tires in new wetland part of cemetery

Aubrey james | MySpace Video


The wetland (critical groundwater recharge area over a bedrock fault in Fayetteville's geological structure) shows why it is essential that the Washington County Livestock Auction (sale-barn land) become a part of the Fayetteville National Cemetery instead. Walmart's providing the trucks, equipment and volunteer employees to make wreath day possible shows that the corporation cares. Maybe Walmart could lead a coalition of corporate donors to buy the sale-barn property and donate it to the National Cemetery (Department of Veterans Affairs).

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of Walmart trucks in the Fayetteville National Cemetery for Wreath Day, December 12, 2009.



 


When a wrecker gets stuck, you know it wasn't a good place

Aubrey james | MySpace Video







This strip of land recently studied by the VA and its contractors is to be prepared for use by the cemetery. Obviously, it will have to be covered with several feet of additional soil so that graves will be above the flood level and will eliminate a significant part of the "critical groundwater recharge area" of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River. Water that historically would have soaked in there will be forced to find new routes, and the amount of water forced to stay on the wooded wetland at right will be increased. Water running off that area already is piped to the Town Branch at the 11th Street bridge. The volume of water flowing south of that bridge toward 15th Street will be further increased and flash floods will be more dangerous to lives and property downstream.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall
The Holiday Season is a busy time so here's a little reminder about our Holiday Open House! If you have not yet RSVP'd don't forget to drop us a line and let us know your are coming! We are looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Please Join Us

Thursday, December 10, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at
34 East Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the
Audubon Arkansas
Holiday Open House

The staff and board of Audubon Arkansas invite you to join us for food, refreshments, conversation and conservation. Spouses, children, and friends welcome.
Please RSVP to mviney@audubon.org
Wishing You Happy Holidays!!!

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall
The Holiday Season is a busy time so here's a little reminder about our Holiday Open House! If you have not yet RSVP'd don't forget to drop us a line and let us know your are coming! We are looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Please Join Us

Thursday, December 10, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at
34 East Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the
Audubon Arkansas
Holiday Open House

The staff and board of Audubon Arkansas invite you to join us for food, refreshments, conversation and conservation. Spouses, children, and friends welcome.
Please RSVP to mviney@audubon.org
Wishing You Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fayetteville in Bloom seeks sponsors for wild-flower seed project

Fayetteville in Bloom is a volunteer driven organization dedicated to beautifying Fayetteville and recognizing the efforts of others in the eight criteria including Heritage Preservation, Urban Forestry, Landscaping, Community Involvement, Floral Displays, Environmental Awareness, Tidiness and Turf/Groundcover. Fayetteville has won a number of national awards including Environmental Awareness this year.

Fayetteville in Bloom receives no funding from the city and raises all funds including the entry fee and arranging hotel and meals for the judges’ visit. The FIB Committee raises funds to produce the Fayetteville Almanac which describes many of the efforts of citizens, businesses and the City of Fayetteville.

Fayetteville in Bloom is looking for sponsors for two fall projects. FIB will be planting daffodils and other bulbs in the two new medians along College Avenue between Dickson and Lafayette. FIB is seeking donations to purchase these beautiful bulbs and a few tools.

FIB will continue to sow wildflower seeds along Scull Creek Trail and the new section of Lake Fayetteville trail. Mother Nature sows her seeds in late fall and early winter. The wildflowers not only provide beauty but habitat for birds, bees, butterflies and other creatures important to the ecosystem.

Please consider supporting the efforts of Fayetteville in Bloom by donating cash or in-kind services such as meals, printing, buying an ad in the Fayetteville Almanac or a Fayetteville in Bloom sign for your business or garden. For further information or to contribute, contact Cindi Cope.


Cindi Cope, Chair
Fayetteville in Bloom
2769 E Weston Pl
Fayetteville AR 72703
479-521-0934
copecindi@aol.com