Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sarah Lewis' letter to residents and friends of Ward 4 as her term on the Fayetteville City Council ends

Dear Ward 4 and Friends, 12/26/12
As 2012 comes to a close, and my time as a City Council member comes to a close, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to represent the citizens of this wonderful community. I have served as a Ward 4 Council Member since 2009. When I ran for City Council, you communicated with me that the following were important tenants on which we should all focus; 1) promote smart business and community development, 2) uphold Fayetteville’s quality of life, 3) protect our community, and 4) support an attainable city. I’d like to share a few of the achievements we had as a community as a result of having worked together over the past 4 years.
As it relates to promoting smart business and community development, together we successfully supported and expanded the arts, the farmer’s markets, and local businesses. We advocated for innovative strategies for development designs, such as the form-­‐based zoning codes. With your support, we sponsored and passed the Low Impact Development (LID) Ordinance, as well as the Residential Energy Code. We pushed for geotechnical assessments for foundations built in the hillside overlay district. Through the Environmental Action Committee (EAC), we worked to host the Watershed Luncheon Series, establish Fayetteville as a certified Community Wildlife Habitat, host a public forum and endorsed the Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan, and draft and pass a resolution to increase transparency in our city’s recycling program. Along with city staff, we successfully established a notification process wherein the EAC is notified when a development is proposed within the Enduring Green Network. Also related to community development, this community collaborated with city staff to design of the Wedington Corridor Plan. This will be very exciting to watch as it moves forward.
We worked to uphold Fayetteville’s fantastic quality of life by sponsoring and passing the Streamside Protection Ordinance, which protects two of Fayetteville’s many assets – its Ozark Mountain streams and its good water quality. Together, we continuously advocated for using low impact development stormwater designs in order to minimize the impacts of development on downstream drainage systems. We worked towards reducing the euthanasia rates at the animal shelter and increased spay and neuter programs. Based on your input, Council Member Shirley Lucas and I worked together to sponsor the Residential Parking Ordinance, as well as the Red Dirt and Rock Quarry ordinances. As a community we continuously supported the expansion of the trail program, specifically promoting an east-­‐west connection to Ward 4 trails. In addition, as a result of your input, we pushed for more traffic calming, sidewalks, and crosswalks in Ward 4. Collectively, we spoke up in order to protect parks from private marketing and advertising campaigns, and continuously advocated to protect Fayetteville’s sign ordinance. Lastly, as a result of feedback during proposed developments near the University of Arkansas campus, the City Council unanimously supported the establishment of the Town and Gown committee, which will provide an enduring tool to help protect neighborhood integrity.
You have communicated that it has been important to protect the community, both financially and as it relates to personal safety. As a result of this, we worked together to support Mayor Jordan’s budget cutbacks throughout the Great Recession, saving millions in taxpayer dollars and resulting in a balanced budget for 2013. Together we supported the Mayor’s work to establish a Fayetteville emergency plan after the ice storm of 2009, and supported the implementation of the plan during other extreme weather events in the last 4 years. Also in the spirit of fiscal
responsibility, as a member of the Equipment Committee, we promoted reducing the purchase of unneeded 4x4 vehicles, and supported the purchase of new fuel-­‐efficient and user-­‐friendly police vehicles for officers. As a result of your interest in a safe community, I and other Council Members voted in support of grants to fund training modules for Fayetteville’s firefighters, as well as to fund an update to the police and fire radio system, which had not been updated in decades. Finally, with your help, we successfully advocated to hire more code enforcement staff to address issues in neighborhoods struggling with code violations.
Lastly, you communicated that it is important to have an attainable city, a city that is accessible to all. As a result of your vision, the City Council supported the work that went into writing and receiving the Home Depot grant to fund affordable housing projects, an improved drainage criteria manual that supports LID, and expanded trail systems to improve accessibility to services. Also important to you in making Fayetteville an attainable city was that we continue to support the work of the Community Development Block Grant program. One part of this program provides support for home improvement efforts for those who apply, thus further enabling home ownership in Fayetteville. Finally, in my role as the chair of the Water, Sewer, and Solid Waste committee, we worked together to maintain low rates for citizens by supporting projects that resulted in a return on investment, increased efficiency in water treatment and delivery, reduced pollutant loads, as well as projects that facilitated the City’s ability to sell the recyclable commodities it collects.
These are some examples of our accomplishments and it is important to recognize that there is still much to do. It is with deepest gratitude that I thank you for the opportunity to have served this wonderful community over the past 4 years. It has been a pleasure to be your representative on the Council, to ask questions for you, to help you navigate the City of Fayetteville system, and to help make progress on key issues that keep Fayetteville moving forward. It has been an experience of a lifetime and it is my hope to continue to serve in other capacities in the future.
Ward 4 Council Members, Rhonda Adams and Alan Long, will continue to communicate with you about the City Council agenda, weekly public meetings, and monthly Ward 4 and Friends meetings. Thank you to Rhonda and Alan for continuing the important tradition of the Ward 4 and Friends meetings. See you all there!
May you have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!
Sarah E. Lewis, Ph.D. 479-­‐263-­‐2087 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ward 4 new alderman Alan Long among three new council members introduced by Lindsley Smith, director of communication to new director of Fayetteville Senior Center

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

For many more photos from Fayetteville Senior Center, including today's photos of youngsters from New School visiting with senior residents of Fayetteville, please see Senior Center set on Flickr.