City leaders in Jasper, Ark. consider making square one-way

Jasper, Ark. City Council has devised a strategic plan to look at making improvements to the town square, one consideration is to make traffic one-way.
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 4:11 PM CDT
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JASPER, Ark. (KY3) - City leaders in Jasper will consider the benefits of a one-way square following an economic development plan focused on increased parking and accessibility downtown.

The square runs along with state State Highway 7 South. It sees increased traffic during the warmer months, with visitors to the Buffalo National River.

“The parking has been a problem, especially for us as business owners,” said Meshelle Kilgorn, owner of the Jasper Jypsi located on the square. “People don’t have anywhere to park to come into our business.”

The city looked at ways to improve the square. City leaders anticipate the area will see more traffic with the renovation of Dogpatch USA.

”Some of it is because of Johnny Morris is opening Marble Falls Nature Park soon. It is the Buffalo National River,” said Jasper Mayor Jan Larson. ”I just think tourists are getting back to a lot of natural activities.”

The city began a strategic planning study three years ago. It looked at traffic, parking, and accessibility of the square, to develop improvement plans. In several aspects, parking is a primary concern. The city currently has no parking time ordinances or designation parking.

”We’ve identified about four places that we can very easily add parking spaces on city easements,” said Mayor Larson. “Along with that, we are going to go ahead and improve crosswalks.”

He admits four spaces will have little effect, so a one-way square has been considered to add additional diagonal parking.

”There’s a possibility we could create more congestion from the busyness of Highway 7 and getting people around that parking,” said Mayor Larson. “We are not ready to vote on changing that. Just talking about it, it sounded like a great idea, but we will continue to study and look at solutions.”

Residents think a one-way square would limit traffic.

”I drive a semi-truck, one lane will not work in Jasper, Arkansas without a bypass, and where you gonna put a bypass?” said Tony Taylor, a sixth-generation resident of Newton County. “It’s been this way 100 years. Work with it.“

“I’m going to be for whatever the city decides to do,” said Kilgorn. “I’m open to all kinds of options, anything to bring more business to other and other businesses on the square.”

Mayor Larson says the city will take its time looking at solutions and encourage community input.

“I can’t speak for the council, but I don’t think they’re going to do anything that will be detrimental to parking around the square,” said Kilgorn

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