It’s no secret that the traffic in Greenwood has been an issue for drivers and commuters for years. As the city has continued to grow and expand, the problem has continued to worsen.
Mayor Doug Kinslow celebrated as voters passed a traffic relief measure, 3-to-1, last week. He is quick, however, to give credit to all who made its passage possible.
“It was a huge team effort,” stated Kinslow. Adding that Finance Director Tom Marsh, Dr. James Burgess, Senator Mathew Pitsch and former Representative Charlotte Douglas helped push the proposal.
Kinslow wasn’t the first mayor to search for answers to the age-old problem. He was, however, the one who was able to get the job done and submit a feasible plan to the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Furthermore, Kinslow’s plan was put together without asking for any new tax.
In order to formulate that plan, ARDOT recommended Kinslow have available four things: money, easements, right of ways, and be willing to take over the section of highway. Burgess, whom Kinslow dubbed “Mr. Greenwood,” was one of the land owners who made the plan possible. “He was clear, he wanted to see the traffic relief proposal pass,” added Kinslow. “It was very important to him. He wanted it for the future of Greenwood…and at 88 years of age, he let me know that he wants this to be done in his lifetime.”
The city held several town hall meetings to help the residents understand how the plan will be implemented. “I was not confronted by a single business person downtown who was afraid they would be shut down.” In fact, he recognizes that business owners could very well benefit from the bypass, noting that drivers often avoid pulling out of traffic to grab a bite to eat or shop out of concern that they won’t be able to get back onto the highway.
The plan will help disperse traffic. For example, a semi-trailor truck will be able to bypass Greenwood on their way to or from Booneville. Drivers won’t be out of the way if they need to access a street back into the city, but the bypass will provide them a way around for the work commute.
The preliminary surveying has already been done, but now the real work begins. Kinslow estimated that the “shovel will go in the ground within two years.”
Although the mayor hadn’t yet spoken with Burgess, he admitted that the pair will most likely “hug and shed a tear or two.” Congratulations to Kinslow, and to all who played a part in accomplishing the passage of this traffic relief plan. The future is bright for the City of Greenwood!