City of Bryant votes to revitalize parks, replace fire stations and improve roads
Tuesday night, Bryant residents voted to reissue bonds created with the 2006 1/2 cent sales tax that was used to build Bishop Park. The city says it had a voter turnout of 12.26 percent, with 72 percent voting for the bonds and 28 percent voting against them.
Because Bryant's sales tax has increased more than 50 percent, the city was able to pay off bonds earlier than expected. Now, about $23 million is available to refinance.
That money will go toward three key projects; including the fire department, parks and streets.
$5.5 million will help replace fire stations 2 and 3, which are beyond repair with safety concerns. $4.5 million will go to new entrances to Bishop Park, a flood study for Bishop Park, new shade structures, revitalizing Mills park, expanding soccer fields, and building a new park north of the interstate. $14 million will go towards the completion of Bryant Parkway and alleviate traffic.
"This is really a no-brainer. All three of those things have to coexist to create a great community," Jill Dabbs, Mayor of Bryant, said.
More than 1500 voters turned out in the election, but for Erin Gildner and her family, this is more than just voting for less traffic, but for a better lifestyle.
"It's really important to me as a mom that lives with a disability and to just participate in the community," Gildner said. She's talking about the money going to parks, as part of it will fund the largest and most inclusive park in the state.
She said it's often hard to get around parks in a wheelchair and this will make it easier for parents and children like her.
"So a kid with a disability can play with anybody without any barriers," Gildner said.
Mayor Dabbs also told Channel 7 this is not an additional tax and will lower interest rates. Overnight, she released this statement:
Thanks to the People of Bryant for their support of the special election this month covering the bond re-issuance initiative. It's passage means we will be able to increases public safety, improve transportation, strengthen economic development and increase Quality of Life, all without raising Taxes. We look forward to meeting the needs of our city as we continue to grow by providing smart, cost effective ways to meet the challenges. In the near future, you will begin to see your support take shape in the form of new fire houses, park facilities and a new roadway that will improve connectivity, safety and congestion. Thank you again for your support!