Again, the barricades will stand.
The barricades that block through traffic at Grandview and Crestview avenues in the Ozark Meadows subdivision will continue to stay in place after a second hearing about their presence was held Thursday night at city council committee meetings.
The matter was aired at last month’s meeting of the Public Works and Transportation Committee chaired by council member Chris Head.
The barricades are located behind Meadow Park Plaza. They were put in place about 20 years ago to protect the residential neighborhood from excessive traffic when the shopping center opened.
The Harrison Board of Realtors, which maintains an office near the barricades, requested that they be removed, but several residents in the area appeared before the council committees in June to oppose the idea.
After some discussion, committee members didn’t even move to take the matter to the full council for consideration.
However, the Board of Realtors has asked to be put on Thursday night’s agenda to address the request again.
Mayor Jerry Jackson explained that the first hearing was held at the Brandon Burlsworth Youth Center and despite having a sound system it was difficult for some council members to hear what members of the public had to say. He also said that Dwight Brown, whose home is located in front of one of the barricades, met with him and other city officials after that meeting to let his position on the barricades be known. That is, that they should come down. In his address to council members Thursday at the Real Ministries fellowship hall, located across the street from city hall, where the past couple of meetings have been held due to constrains calling for social distancing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Brown gave at length an early history of the subdivision. He complained that since the barricades have been in place his property is in continual risk of damage by traffic using it for turning around. He also said the barricades are unsightly, that the vacant area they create attracts unwelcome individuals and is often used at night for illicit activities.
Several people who attended last month’s meeting returned to restate their positions that the barricades are needed to protect the safety of children playing in the surrounding neighborhood, as well as many more Board of Realtors members asking for the barricades’ removal.
City Chief of Operations Wade Phillips and Harrison Fire Chief Marc Lowery both endorsed the barricades’ removal. Phillips said that installing cul-de-sacs or other “T”-shaped turn around areas would require taking of private property in order to meet city codes. Opening the road would provide traffic access to the traffic signal at Walmart Drive and US 62-65 and allow easier access by fire trucks.
Head made a motion to move the matter to the full council in two weeks. But the response from other council members was only silence for a considerable period of time before Head declared that his motion died for want of a second.