West Fork, nestled in the Ozark Mountains, is ten miles south of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a half-hour drive to the home offices of Wal-Mart and Tyson. West Fork is nearby to popular destinations such as the Crystal Bridges Museum, Beaver Lake, Devil's Den State Park with hiking and biking trails, and the War Eagle Mill Arts and Crafts Fair. West Fork was founded in the 1880s on the banks of the West Fork of the White River. Founded by the timber industry, milling, and railroad commerce, our historic homes, parks, library, Farmers Market and community events preserve a small town feel in an area of rapid growth with a diverse and an expanding economy. Our beautiful Ozark Mountain scenery, mild four seasons, one of the best school districts in Arkansas, and opportunities for employment, recreation and higher education, make West Fork "Where the Best Begins".
One of my goals as Mayor has been to encourage collaboration among our city departments. Another has been to facilitate grant opportunities in order to increase the amount of federal, state, and private funding for opportunities that benefit our residents. I took advantage of grant extensions offered last winter to submit two grant applications for sidewalk connections. I selected the White Street and McKnight Street locations in order to compete a connection from Riverside Park, to Campbell Loop and the historic downtown area, and a safe route to school along McKnight Street. The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department announced this week that the city received a $179,231 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for the Riverside Park Connection and Safe Routes to School. We also received a $94,995 Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) grant for the McKnight Street Safe Routes Connection. These funds will allow city departments to collaborate to improve daily life in West Fork by making it easier and safer for West Fork residents to walk or bike safely. Chad Harrison, Parks Director, and the Parks Department are currently working on the addition to the Riverside Parks trail that will connect to the White Street Sidewalk Project. This job will be under the supervision of James Scanlon, our Public Works Director, who will also direct the McKnight Street Safe Routes connection. The TAP supports the creation of systems that will provide safe routes for non-drivers and for the construction of sidewalks and trails for pedestrians and bicyclists. The cities of West Fork and Springdale were the only two Washington County recipients of these funds. The SRTS Program supports projects that enable and encourage children to walk and bicycle safely to school. The City of West Fork and Prairie Grove Schools were the only two Washington County recipients of these funds. The construction timeline will be determined in the near future, and the AHTD will work with us to develop our projects and see them through to completion. These two projects, as will all future undertakings, will meet ADA compliance. Funding Program Number of Projects Total Awarded Transportation Alternatives Program 71 out of 93 applicants $ 15,970,981 Safe Routes to School Program 8 out of 39 applicants $ 1,207,262 Recreational Trails Program 28 $ 3,186,694 All Programs Total 107 $ 20,364,937Charlie Rossetti, Mayor