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Thomas Rhett’s ‘Life Changes’ Debuts As #1 All-Genre Album

ALL ACCESS congratulates VALORY MUSIC CO. artist THOMAS RHETT and his team for a #1 all-genre album debut on “Life Changes,” which totaled 123,000 equivalent album units its first … more

Americana Music Association Unveils 14th Annual Honors & Awards Performers, Presenters

The AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION revealed its initial performer and presenter lineup for its 14th annual HONORS & AWARDS SHOW at the RYMAN AUDITORIUM, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th, hosted by … more

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Arkansas to become open carry state on August 15th

Arkansas will become the nation’s 45th open carry state on August 15th of this year. This result arises from the Arkansas legislature’s enactment of HB 1700, a bill sponsored by Representative Denny Altes (R – Fort Smith) which amended Arkansas Code § 5-73-120 (Carrying a weapon).

Police shooting inspires instant protest in Little Rock


Frustration over the Trayvon Martin case boils into a protest at 12th and Jefferson.
by David Koon

Nobody has to say it, but the timing couldn’t have been worse.

Two days after a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of all charges in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, with black America boiling over with frustration about the justice system, a Little Rock police officer shot and killed 26-year-old Deon Williams near the corner of 12th and Jefferson.

According to a LRPD release, just before noon on Monday, Officers Grant Humphries and Terry McDaniel saw a Chevy Suburban on 12th Street that they believed to be stolen. (Officials would later confirm that the truck was, in fact, not stolen.)

When the officers pulled the SUV over, police say, the driver jumped out and fled. McDaniel pursued on foot, while Humphries took off in the squad car, trying to cut Williams off. As McDaniel chased Deon Williams into the backyard of a house on Adams Street, a gun fell out of Williams’ waistband, according to the police. When Williams stopped to pick up the gun and turned toward McDaniel, the police narrative says, McDaniel feared for his life, and fired three times. Williams, who was paroled in May after serving two years in prison on charges of possession of a controlled substance and robbery, was pronounced dead at UAMS at 12:17 p.m.

McDaniel, a black officer, has used deadly force at least once before. He fatally shot a man who pulled a gun on him when interrupted during a daytime home burglary on Thayer Street last year. The burglar had earlier fatally shot one man and wounded another at the home.

Information about the shooting spread through social media. At 1 p.m., someone tweeted that the person killed by the police had been an 11-year-old boy, shot nine times in the back. A crowd of angry people began to gather at the Hess gas station on 12th street, just across from the crime scene.

By 1:30 p.m., the biggest swell of the crowd had grown to at least 200, simmering under the July sun. Dozens more watched from the parking lots of businesses and the yards of nearby houses. Several of the protestors closest to the sidewalk, where the police soon lined up in a black wall of uniforms, held signs that called for justice for Bobby Moore, the teenage burglar who was shot by LRPD officer Josh Hastings in August 2012 as Moore tried to flee a West Little Rock apartment complex. Hastings’ manslaughter trial in the case ended in a hung jury last month.

As the protest grew, crowding into the rectangle of shade under the awning of the gas station, the clerk at the station came to the door, ushered the last customers out, then locked it behind them, followed by a set of heavy steel bars. Soon, the neon beer signs in the windows went out, along with the lights inside. A man came to the doors and tugged on them. Another splashed ice tea against the glass, then threw the can against the doors. Kids with cell phones filmed him, waiting for something worthy of YouTube to happen, but instead he just walked away in disgust, disappearing back into the crowd.

Overhead, a state police chopper circled the intersection of 12th and Jefferson at 300 feet. At the edge of the crowd, people cursed it, many of them screaming obscenities at the sky and flipping the bird with both hands, trying to telegraph their anger and frustration to the pilot.

Ernest Franklin, president of Say Stop the Violence, was there, sweating into a suit coat as he walked among the crowds of angry young people in tank tops and shorts. He said he had talked to police on the scene, asking them to close 12th Street to keep curious drivers from driving by. Soon after we spoke, the street was blocked to most traffic.

[page]

“I’ve asked them to get somebody down here other than the police officers,” he said. “Right now, the whole nation, no matter where you go, they’re mad at the police. We do understand that the police officers have to do their job, but people are out here looking for justice and to get justice served, whatever that is going to take.”

The police brought in more squad cars, running them in almost bumper to bumper in the eastbound lane of 12th Street. “Nobody goes into the crowd,” an officer standing in the street said, and the word went on down the line. One man taunted the cops, saying, “What if it was your kid going down the alley? Y’all ain’t perfect.” Another man shouted, “Fuck America! That’s how I feel.”

Asa Muhammad was standing at the corner of 12th and Jefferson, watching investigators work across the street. A member of the Nation of Islam, Muhammad was at the Pulaski Country courthouse during the Josh Hastings trial.

“The police brutality and the police actions toward our people is not justice,” Muhammad said. “It doesn’t take the police gunning down our people to make an arrest or stop a crime … one shot or a taser to the leg could take a man down, but not a deadly force bullet to his heart or in his back to kill him. They’re professionals. They have tasers. They’re taught to shoot a weapon. But unfortunately, just like Bobby Moore was shot, this gentleman was shot. Another loss for our community.”

Muhammad said a lot of the anger on display had to do with the economic conditions many blacks find themselves in. “If our economic situation was better, and our people were afforded jobs to do better for themselves, then the vast majority of this wouldn’t be. But unfortunately, in this area, the vast majority of the people you see are unemployed. That has a great effect on what’s going on.”

More cops came. A roaring line of black and white Harley-Davidsons. A lumbering SWAT truck. Dozens of cops stretched their line down the turn lane of 12th Street, just behind the row of squad cars. Someone threw a can of soda, which sailed over the line and landed in the street.

Schwanda Daugherty was there in the edge of the crowd. “This is a community thing,” she said. “I’m here to support them even though I don’t know the young man. We’re out here, we’re going to protest, we’re going to show that we care. … There’s a lot of frustration. It’s happening, and we want everybody to know it’s happening. It’s a racial issue. It never went away, and it’s never going away. But we’re going to stand up and fight.”

As the afternoon wore on, tensions rose. At times, the crowd pushed forward toward the patrol cars, at others, they shrank back to the shade. A woman tried to get others to hold hands and form a human chain along the street, but was ignored until she gave up. Another woman in a gray halter-top shouted over the angry din of the crowd: “All we are to them is monkeys and dogs.” Someone threw a brown bottle that thumped in the grass on the other side of the street. The helicopter buzzed overhead, forgotten now that there were plenty of terrestrial cops to hate.

[page]

Then, walking along the edge of 12th Street, supported by friends, came a sobbing woman named Shemedia Shelton. Shelton was the owner of the Suburban Williams had been driving, and identified herself as Williams’ wife.

“You didn’t have to kill him,” she screamed. “Trayvon wasn’t enough? You didn’t have to fucking kill him. You didn’t have to kill him. You didn’t have to fucking kill him.”

Chastity Duffy, the woman supporting Shelton, said that they’d just picked Williams up from Tucker Penitentiary two months before.

“He was just trying to do what was right for his wife and kids,” Duffy said. “He didn’t do nothing.” At Duffy’s elbow, clinging there, shambling along in the sun toward the protest, Shelton wailed variations on a single sentence: “Can anybody tell me what I’m supposed to tell my kids?”

The heat came down, broken by periodic clouds. For three minutes, a burly cop stood in the door of a cruiser and spoke into a loudspeaker, telling the crowd to disperse, that they were participating in an unlawful assembly, that they would be arrested if they didn’t comply, saying it over and over like a machine. The crowd roared back at him, drowning him out with taunts and curses. There was a sense that something was going to happen. Eventually, the officer on the loudspeaker stopped, his voice replaced by that of a man who said he wasn’t a police officer, that he wanted to lead them to a park where they could continue the protest, that there would be a candlelight vigil that night they could attend. The crowd clenched into a fist before him and shouted him down too. Though a peaceful vigil would be held that night at the State Capitol, that moment was too angry and hot for talk of peace.

Police Chief Stuart Thomas appeared, along with City Manager Bruce Moore, both standing in front of the Family Dollar store across the street. Behind them, the shooting investigation started to wrap up. Police tape came down. A flatbed came for the Suburban Williams had been driving. Soon, the line of Harleys fired up and roared away, followed by most of the squad cars, some making a slow U-turn in the street.

Across the street, Chief Thomas spoke to the press, pulling further back when the chants of “fuck the police” became loud enough for the mics to pick them up and spoil a quote. “As we were working the case, a lot of information got out,” Thomas said. “People were a little bit misinformed about the circumstances … it just kind of built up from there. There are a lot of other issues at play, both locally and nationally.” A minute later, someone shouted “Look out!” as a full plastic bottle came out of the crowd, over the street, and over Thomas’s head — a hail-Mary lob that would have done any quarterback proud. The bottle splattered eight feet away in the parking lot, next to a snarl of police tape.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said of being the target of the bottle. “It’ll calm down when we’re out of here.”

Soon after, the last of the cops pulled away, and the crowd soon did as Thomas had predicted. By the time the TV stations did their 5 p.m. live shots from the corner of 12th and Jefferson, there was just a single man in a white T-shirt, holding a sign. Once the cameras turned off, he disappeared, too.

Standing on the corner, watching people buy gas at the Hess station and 12th street roll full of cars again, it was hard to believe the anger of the day had ever happened. Then a woman pulled up to the herd of TV trucks and rolled down her window. “What is it,” she asked, “open season on black people?”

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‘Nash Nights Live’ Co-Host Shawn Parr Set For Lifetime Achievement Award

ALL ACCESS congratulates CUMULUS nationally syndicated "NASH NIGHTS LIVE" co-host SHAWN PARR, who will be honored with the "CALIFORNIA COUNTRY AWARDS" Lifetime Achievement … more

The Andrew Marshall Dorff Memorial Fund Announced In Honor Of Late Songwriter

Songwriter STEVE DORFF and actor STEPHEN DORFF have unveiled plans for the ANDREW MARSHALL DORFF MEMORIAL FUND, honoring their late son and brother, hit Country songwriter ANDREW DORFF, who … more

Zac Brown Raises $1.7 Million For Camp Southern Ground

Kudos to ZAC BROWN of SOUTHERN GROUND/ELEKTRA/WAR's ZAC BROWN BAND on raising $1.7 million for his non-profit project, CAMP SOUTHERN GROUND, during the second annual "EVENING TO … more

Find Your Next Gig With The All Access Jobs Forum

The ALL ACCESS JOBS forum is live 24/7/365. The most comprehensive overview of on-air and in-office jobs across every market and genre, let ALL ACCESS JOBS work for you. Do you have an … more

BMLG’s Jimmy Harnen: ‘Ego Can Make Someone A Star; Arrogance Can Kill A Career.”

"While this is the music business, it is also a people business. Egos come into play from all sides, and that's not a bad thing. Ego -- not to be confused with arrogance -- is life, … more

Soylent Greenbacks

Nose To The Groin Stone and Simper Fi

Nose To The Groin Stone

I’m a woman, and I recently made a new professional connection — a man who’s excited about my work. We’re planning on doing a big important project together. I’m worried that he’s interested in me romantically (based on a few things he’s said). I’m not interested in him in that way. What’s the right thing to say to get that across?

—All Business

It’s tempting to get everything out in the open right away: “I’ve run the numbers on your chances of having sex with me, and they’re pretty close to the odds of your being crushed to death by a middle-aged dentist falling out of the sky.”

Informing a guy pronto that you aren’t romantically interested in him — though in somewhat kinder language — would be the right thing to do if he were just some persistent Tinder date you wanted to unload forever. But you’re hoping to have a continuing business relationship with this guy. So even if it were wildly obvious that he has the hots for you, the last thing you should do is mention that particular elephant in the room (not even while you’re pole-vaulting over steaming mountain ranges of elephant dung).

Cognitive psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker points out that “most social interaction” involves some conflicting goals — for example, when only one of two people is interested in ending the evening in the tool shed/sex dungeon. (Yes, sometimes the nightcap is a rubber hood.)

Pinker explains that “indirect speech” — not saying exactly what you think or want — is a way two people can maintain their relationship as it is (even when both suspect or are pretty sure that their desired outcomes are in sharp conflict). The sometimes tiny measure of ambiguity — uncertainty about another person’s goals — that is fostered by indirect speech does a big job. It allows the person who wants something the other doesn’t to save face, enabling the two to preserve their common ground.

So, your refraining from telling the guy that you aren’t interested (in so many words) allows him to cling to the ego-preserving possibility that you might be. If he goes direct on you — tells you he wants to sex up your business relationship — that’s when you likewise get explicit: Tell him straight out that you want to keep things strictly professional. However, this may not be necessary if you act in ways that say “just business!” Avoid going flirty in communicating with him, and schedule meetings for the utterly unsexiest times and places possible. Nobody ends up doing the walk of shame because they had seconds on biscotti and one too many double espressos.


Simper Fi

There’s always been an attraction between this guy and me. I’ve been thinking of testing the waters with him romantically, but he recently mentioned that he freaks out when women cry. He says he just has no idea what to do. Well, I’m an emotional person — generally happy but also a big crier. Are we a bad match, or could I teach him to soothe me?

—Waterworks

Most men are comfortable dealing with any leaky item — as long as it can be fixed with an adjustable wrench and a Phillips screwdriver.

If there’s a decoder ring for human emotion, it’s the female brain. Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen finds that men, generally speaking, just aren’t as good as women at what’s called “theory of mind” — the ability to “infer what other people might be thinking or intending.” He explains that women, from childhood on, tend to be the “empathizers” of the species, driven to identify others’ “emotions and thoughts, and to respond with the appropriate emotions” (say, by hugging a teary-eyed person instead of treating them like a statue weeping blood).

In contrast with female “empathizers,” Baron-Cohen describes men as the “systematizers” of the species. This is a fancy way of saying they’re engineering-focused — driven, from a young age, to identify how inanimate stuff works and “derive the underlying rules that govern the behavior of a system.” However, these are “reliable” rules, like the law of gravity — “What goes up must come down“ — nothing helpful for fathoming what the girlfriend’s got swirling around in her head when she suddenly goes all funeralface.

Typically, women believe “If he loved me, he’d figure it out.” Um, no. Not here in realityland. Assume most heterosexual men are sucky at emotional tea leaf reading. When you’re in boohooville (or on your way), tell a man what you’re feeling and how he could help — for example, by just listening and rubbing your back. In time, this may help him avoid reacting to the welling of that very first tear by diving behind the couch and yelling, “Incoming! One o’clock! Alpha team, flank left!”

LIVE! in NWA

Dec. 8

Jimmy Wayne Garrett & Liberty Bell — 8 p.m., Black Apple Crossing, Springdale.

Brick Fields — Chelsea’s Corner Cafe, Eureka Springs.

Mark Currey — 7 p.m., Core Public House, Springdale.

Melodie Rooker — 7:30 p.m., Dickson Street Pub, Fayetteville.

Aaron Kamm and the One Drops — 9:30 p.m., with Vintage Pistol. George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville. $7.

Keith Nicholson — 8 p.m., Levi’s Gastrolounge, Rogers.

The Odds — Mojo’s Pints & Pies, Fayetteville.

Derek Smith — 8 p.m. standup comedy. Nomads Music Lounge, Fayetteville.

The Toos — with Lost John, and Basement Brew. Smoke & Barrel Tavern, Fayetteville.

A Rozenbridge Christmas — 7 p.m., Two25 Gallery, Bentonville.


TubaChristmas — The third annual River Valley TubaChristmas will be held at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 9 at the King Opera House (427 Main St.) in historic downtown Van Buren and features special guest performers from U.S. military bands. TubaChristmas is a concert of well-known and loved Christmas music and is open to all tuba, baritone and euphonium players at all skill levels. Registration for performers will begin at 8:30 a.m., and rehearsal will start at 9 a.m. Music will be provided. Contact Erick Wiggins at 926-4794 or visit facebook.com/RiverValleyTubaChristmas for info. Free.

Dec. 9

Annie Moses Band — 8 p.m., Alma Performing Arts Center, Alma. $20-$35.

Mömandpöp — 1 p.m. for Santa in the Park. Basin Spring Park, Eureka Springs.

Old Dime Box — 6 p.m., Bear’s Place, Fayetteville.

Derek Smith — 8 p.m. standup comedy. Black Apple Crossing, Springdale.

Earl and Them — Chelsea’s Corner Cafe, Eureka Springs.

Fred Wickham — 7:30 p.m., Dickson Street Pub, Fayetteville.

Opal Agafia & the Sweet Nothings — 9 p.m., with Chucky Waggs and, Kay Brothers. George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville. $7.

Dr. Nola & Soul Shakers — 8 p.m., Levi’s Gastrolounge, Rogers.

Jimmy Wayne & Liberty Bell — Mojo’s Pints & Pies, Fayetteville.

A Techno Story — 9 p.m. Nomads Music Lounge, Fayetteville.

Melody Pond — 8 p.m., The Odd Soul, Springdale.

Pinetop Renegades — 7 p.m., Rowdy Beaver on W. Van Buren, Eureka Springs.

Blew Reed & the Flatheads — 8 p.m.; Tightrope at noon. Rowdy Beaver Den, Eureka Springs.

Roby Pantall Jazz Duo — Ruth Chris Lounge, Rogers.

Holiday concert — 2:30 p.m., Shiloh Museum, Springdale.

A Woodland Christmas — 7 p.m., Two25 Gallery, Bentonville.

Warren’s Rec Room Christmas Party — 7 p.m. with Oreo Blue. Warren’s Rec Room, Alma.


David Phelps — Grammy and Dove Award-winning Christian artist David Phelps returns to Northwest Arkansas with a Classic Christmas concert as part of his 19th annual Christmas tour, 7 p.m. Dec. 10, Bentonville First Baptist Church. Once a childhood musical prodigy from Tomball, Texas, Phelps has become a nationally celebrated vocalist, perhaps best known as the powerful tenor for the multiple Grammy and Dove Award-winning Gaither Vocal Band. 800-965-9324 or fbcbentonville.org. $15.

Dec. 10

David Phelps — 7 p.m. Christmas concert. Bentonville First Baptist Church, Bentonville. $15.

Blue Dream Blue — Chelsea’s Corner Cafe, Eureka Springs.

Harmonia Winter Concert — 7 p.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Fayetteville. $10.

Sacred Harp Singers — 1:30 p.m., Shiloh Museum, Springdale.

She’s Us — 1 p.m., Terra Studios, Durham.

Danú — 7 p.m., “A Christmas Gathering.” Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $18-$30.


Dec. 12

Brett & Terri — 5 p.m., JJ’s Grill, Bella Vista.

Tony Alvarez — JJ’s Grill, Dickson Street.

Lazy Daisy — 6 p.m., JJ’s Grill, Fayetteville.

Jason Campbell — 6 p.m., JJ’s Grill, Fort Smith.

Jeff Fox — 6 p.m., JJ’s Grill, Rogers.

Jed Clampit — 7 p.m., Pesto Cafe, Fayetteville.

Jazz Jam — with Jake Hertzog Trio, Stage Eighteen, Fayetteville. $5-$10.

LeAnn Rimes — 7 p.m., “Today is Christmas.” Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $45-$75.


Dec. 13

James Henry — 5 p.m., JJ’s Grill, Bella Vista.

Jon Dooly — JJ’s Grill, Dickson Street.

Jeff Fox — 6 p.m., JJ’s Grill, Fayetteville.

Brett & Terri — 6 p.m., JJ’s Grill, Fort Smith.

Jocko — 6 p.m., JJ’s Grill, Rogers.

Matt Smith — Mojo’s Pints & Pies, Fayetteville.

Robert Earl Keen — 7 p.m., “Fam-O-Lee Back To The Country Jamboree,” with The Quebe Sisters. Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $25-$55.


Dec. 14

Dominic Bryan Roy — 7:30 p.m., Dickson Street Pub, Fayetteville.

Flatland Cavalry — 8:30 p.m. with John Baumann. George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville. $10.

Pat Ryan Key — Mojo’s Pints & Pies, Fayetteville.

Jonathan Story — 7 p.m., “Home for the Holidays,” with Kara Story and the UA Children’s Choir. Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $25-$30.

Please send info about your upcoming concerts and events to Jocelyn.

Steve Lemme & Kevin Heffernan — Superstar comedians Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme are bringing their hilarious antics back to Cherokee Casino in West Siloam Springs, Okla., at 9 p.m. Dec. 16. The comedic duo are part of the Broken Lizard Comedy Group and creators of films such as “Super Troopers” and “The Slammin’ Salmon.” In their live show, Heffernan and Lemme perform stand-up, sharing funny stories about the making of their movies and more. An autograph signing and photos will follow the performance. (800) 754-4111, WSStickets.showare.com. $15.

— Jocelyn Murphy

jmurphy@nwadg.com

Finding New Favorites

Fashion Week opens doors in Northwest Arkansas

MELISSA ARENS
Special to The Free Weekly

Aimzdesigns

I recently was a guest at Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week 2017 fall shows at Drake Field, representing The Free

Weekly and What’s Up! As a former fashion show producer for NWAFW, it was nice to be able to enjoy this year by just sitting back and watching the show!

When I produced fashion shows, I always conquered it with an artistic approach, not just showing clothes to be purchased and wearable but trying to give my show an element of artistic expression as well. So naturally — while watching what was coming down the runway — I wanted to be able to feel/experience the passion a designer/stylist has while creating.

Here are two of my favorites, one amazing designer and one talented stylist/blogger/boutique owner who I felt delivered well.

Amy Jo, Designer

Aimzdesigns

“When i design a garment, i think of the person i want in it. Where’s she going? She needs the complete look. Since i was inspired by the 1940s i really went to that old Hollywood glam. Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn… i listened to my jazz as i sewed all hours of the day. And it hit me on a rainy fall morning. ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’ I needed a hat. This was my first time designing a hat, and it turned out more fabulous than i could have ever imagined!

Aimzdesigns

Darcy Munoz

Stylist/blogger/boutique owner

Hello Luvvy

Hello Luvvy is a new womenswear boutique located at 34 East Center St. off the downtown Fayetteville square. This was their first time showing at NWAFW after just opening their store front this past July. Owner Darcy Munoz was inspired by street style bloggers based in NYC, London and Paris to carry chic, timeless pieces along with up and coming designers. This keeps the store feeling fresh and wearable for women of all ages. Being considerate of the ever changing world of fast fashion and its impact on the environment, Hello Luvvy hopes to offer clothing that can be transitioned season to season and loved year to year with reasonable price points to boot. We’re confident women of all ages can find something to luvv at this fresh shopping destination. Hello Luvvy’s store front is open Thursday through Saturday and can be found online at helloluvvy.com.

 

Council Rezones College Avenue

City plans arts corridor with Walton financing

STACY RYBURN
sryburn@nwadg.com

The Free Weekly/DAVID GOTTSCHALK
Andrew Garner (from left), Fayetteville planning director, Terry Gulley, transportation director, Garner Stoll, development services director, Kyle Smith, council member, Sarah Marsh, council member, Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Matthew Petty, council member, pause on College Avenue in Fayetteville. The officials toured from Maple to North Street to look at zoning options to encourage development friendly to pedestrians with good architecture design.

The Fayetteville City Council on Dec. 5 took the first steps toward making College Avenue a more pedestrian-oriented, shop-friendly corridor where people can live, work and play, following months of discussion and proposal changes.

The council approved two proposals, one rezoning College Avenue from Maple to North streets and another to apply downtown’s architectural standards to that stretch. The first item passed unanimously while the second passed 7-1, with Sarah Marsh casting the dissenting vote.

Garner Stoll, Development Services director, said the point was to take a highway and put in the regulatory framework to create a walkable Main Street. The city first took up the proposal in April, bouncing it between the council and Planning Commission and two subcommittees.

The council agreed on two changes Dec. 5. One put gasoline stations and drive-throughs among conditional uses for the stretch, meaning new ones would require a permit from the Planning Commission. The other limited all of the buildings within the overlay district to four stories.

Residents in the Washington-Willow and Wilson Park neighborhoods near the stretch came out during the early months of the proposal to speak against a rezoning to allow large, student-type housing. Different provisions addressing building height went in and out of the proposal before the council agreed on the four-story limit Tuesday.

A previous revision to city code changed building height measurement from feet to stories. City staff first brought up rezoning College Avenue because many of the current buildings, with long setbacks from the right of way and parking lots with numerous curb cuts, didn’t comply with modern-day standards. City crews have built 10-foot-wide sidewalks with LED streetlights on the east side of the stretch and are working on doing the same to the west side.

The council debated the setback requirements as the final wrinkle to iron out. Marsh proposed buildings should be able to run flush to the sidewalk up to 10 feet back. Council member Matthew Petty said the rule as proposed, with a setback of 10 to 25 feet, was adequate for now.

The Free Weekly/DAVID GOTTSCHALK
One of the newer businesses on College Avenue in Fayetteville viewed by city officials on a walking tour on Dec. 4.

Marsh said the extra space makes it so people have room to throw cigarette butts and trash and that it creates an inconsistent streetscape. Petty said the 10-foot-wide sidewalks won’t sustain a future mixed-use development hub and there needs to be enough room to make them bigger to accommodate more foot traffic or plazas.

The city toured the area Monday, where Marsh said 25 feet seemed too long. She used Lacuna Modern Furniture as an example of a well-designed building that would be out of compliance because it’s right next to the sidewalk.

Marsh’s amendment to change the setback failed 7-1.

In other business, the council accepted a nearly $1.8 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation to design a cultural arts corridor. The city was one of three others to receive a grant for such an endeavor.

The foundation will pay world-renowned designers to come up with outdoor elements on about 12 acres the city owns downtown. Examples include plazas, festival spaces, places for parking, natural spaces and streetscape enhancements.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan has talked about a Times Square equivalent for Fayetteville. Chief of Staff Don Marr said the designers will consider the interests of downtown patrons, the Walton Arts Center, Dickson Street Merchants Association, the library, TheatreSquared and other stakeholders.

Peter Nierengarten, sustainability and parking director, estimated the work could amount to $15-$20 million in improvements to be paid for through a voter-approved bond program.

Petty said something like a cultural arts district can outlast governments.

“This is the kind of the thing that will define not just who we are, but who our great-grandchildren in Fayetteville think Fayettevillians are,” he said. “It’s really hard to overstate the impact of this on future generations or the value of it today.”

The Free Weekly/DAVID GOTTSCHALK
One of the older properties on College Avenue.

__

Next meeting

The council left on its first reading an item to renew the $98,000 contract with Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Arkansas to provide recreation services at the senior center. City Attorney Kit Williams said he would work on terms of the contract that would allow the city to have a say in the hiring of a new center director.

Cayla Wilson, the director, served her last day in the role Nov. 21. Four residents spoke Dec. 5, some bringing up Wilson and praising her work, others asking the city to look into taking over operations at the center.

Discussion of the item will resume at the next meeting.

When: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19

Where: Room 219, City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St.