LETTER TO EDITOR of NORTHWEST ARKANSAS TIMES:
"Square renovation was necessary
"Hats off to the City Council and mayor for the renovation of the sidewalks around the Square. They had become an eyesore, hazard and an embarrassment to our beautiful town. In my opinion, the Square is the heart of the city, with Dickson Street being the gateway. A beautiful downtown makes us all proud. Thank you for recognizing these needed repairs. Regards,
Hayden McIlroy / Dallas, Texas"
I have looked back at a couple of hundred photos of the Fayetteville square from summer 2007 and can't find one showing evidence that the square was anything but beautiful. Surely, if Hayden McIIlroy is right, there would be a shot of something really in need of repair. But I can't find it. I do have photos made after the work was started and the place pretty quickly was made to appear to need total replacement.
McIlroy remains financially able to pay for the work done there and doesn't share the majority view of people using the square. Most of us don't have a dime to spare for redecorating. And the waste of resources that could have fixed some very bad sidewalks within a short walk of the square is apalling. Where is the old sidewalk now? In the landfill? Dumped in the city-owned wooded wetland area southeast of the new fire station? Or the city-owned wetland southeast of the Animal Shelter?
Could be hidden in the big hole where the hotel was removed?
Sometimes, beauty is in the pocketbook of the beholder? Word on the street is that the final cost of the work on the square may be closer to $2 million than the projected $1 million. I hope that a list of the big donors reimbursing the city for getting rid of the "eyesore" soon will be published.
The McIlroy family has been among the leaders of the community for a long time and deserve credit for many things. If the work on the square is secretly a gift from them, we should thank them publicly. Otherwise, people are going to keep asking why this work was started at the very time the City Council and various department heads were struggling to balance the new year's budget. Once the destruction began, the council had to support it to avoid being blamed for what the square suddenly had become.
How much taxpayers' money did A&P pay to the city or directly for work on the square? Is that the difference in its budget this year?
Times reports Advertising and Promotion Commission funding low