Monday, October 20, 2008

Students a true part of the city

Mayoral candidate Jordan speaks about UA, Dickson Street

By: Miles Bryant

Posted: 10/20/08

Lioneld Jordan has lived in Fayetteville for more than 30 years, been on the City Council seven and a half years, been vice mayor four years, fought for equal pay for women faculty at the UA, fought for the proper observance of Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, fought for a polling booth for the students and is "ready for the next level," he said.

"I truly know the campus better than any of the candidates," Jordan said. "I'm part of this campus, and this campus is part of me. It's been wonderful to be a part of this family."

Jordan's tenure at the UA has led to his affection for the students and a desire to include them into the city.

"One thing I'm going to offer the students, even though we didn't get the polling booth - I'm going to offer them a town hall meeting at least once a year on this campus," he said. "They'll know where the city's at, and they'll be part of the city. My whole campaign has been about the people and pulling people together.

"I think sometimes the student body feels that they're not really part of the city, but they are part of the city. I'm going to bridge that gap because I know the UA, and I know the city. We've got to pull everything together."

One of the things Jordan would like to see is a committee of students that would advise the city with students' needs.

"I find it's paramount to have that line of communication," he said.

Jordan said he thinks the city needs to partner the UA and Ozark Regional Transit in their efforts for public transportation.

In his view of public transportation, Jordan sees a box lined with kiosks around the city of Fayetteville, with Sam's Club in the center. He crosses the box with boulevards that have 10 feet of green space and six-foot sidewalks. He calls this "the box" and wants to hook a trail system onto the box so people can ride their bikes to the kiosks and board the buses. He also would like to run a light rail system along the railroad tracks Fayetteville has.

"I'm very interested in light rail," he said. "Light rail, with one motor, will haul 15,000 riders. A boulevard road will haul 5,000."

Jordan also said he thinks Razorback Transit deserves more money from the city.

"We're giving Razorback Transit, I think, $50,000 a year," he said. "I think we need to give them around $100,000 and really partner with them."

With 38 percent of Fayetteville's population making less than $30,000 a year, Jordan has a plan to shift the middle class. He'd like to train people, through the governor's workforce plan, in green collar jobs and then recruit green companies to come to the city of Fayetteville.

"It elevates the blue-collar workers to a new standard of living, which creates a new middle class in this city, which then creates a disposable income they'll spend back into the community," Jordan said.

For the city park system, Jordan would like to section one-third of city parks into three sections: one section with trees, one section with Arkansas natural grasses and one section with a shared community garden.

"Anybody that wants to can get a piece of this garden," he said. "Either they maintain it or they lose it. They can take a section of this and grow their own food. It creates community."

Jordan also would like to see the new parks planted with a "sustainable" grass that grows five to six inches tall and only requires cutting once a month.

"If we start to sod the new parks in this grass, how much more do we save on gas just mowing once a month instead of once a week?" Jordan asked. "We create a sustainable park."

When it comes to businesses, Jordan's primary concern is keeping local businesses in Fayetteville.

"We've got to keep the local businesses that we have here solid and then recruit the new businesses," he said.

Jordan's most heartfelt answers come from questions about Dickson Street.

"I have not supported large hotels downtown, especially on Dickson Street," he said. "When I was here, Dickson Street was the most unique place in this whole town. It was a melting pot of different cultures and diversity, and different ideas, and free-flowing thought and entertainment.

"I think it defines this city. There's no place like Dickson Street to me, and I'm going to keep it unique; I'm going to keep it like it is."
© Copyright 2008 The Traveler

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