Friday, September 30, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Jacksonville celebrates

Festiville in Jacksonville is from 9 a.m. till 7 p.m. today in Dupree Park. The event will include hot-air balloon rides, live music and performances, a barbecue contest, festival foods, carnival rides, a volleyball tournament, a petting zoo and kids zone and much more.

Residents should flock to Dupree Park and rally around their community focused on the future and funnel cakes.

The city has a lot to celebrate. The old Jacksonville Middle School site, not far from where today’s festival is underway, has already been bulldozed and cleared so that a $60 million high school can be built there by 2019.

Jacksonville’s new school district hasn’t wasted anytime and plans to build at least two new elementary schools, one to replace Arnold Drive and another to replace Pinewood and Warren Dupree.

But the education renaissance is just one aspect of Jacksonville’s resurgence. The improvements to Hwy. 67/167 will also boost the city’s image and accessibility, and make it more appealing for business development.

The highway work, which won’t be completed in 2022, includes making the road six lanes to Hwy. 5 and replacing the overpasses at Redmond Road, James Street, Main Street and Vandenberg Boulevard. A new overpass will be built at Gregory Street, making crossing the highway more convenient.

The access roads — T.P. White Drive and John Harden — will be made one way like in North Little Rock and most of Sherwood. The Russian roulette yields for traffic headed onto Hwy. 67/167 will be gone once the roads are made one way, which will make it a lot safer and keep traffic moving.

There will be less congestion at North First Street and Vandenberg Boulevard, one of the worst intersections in the state, after the project is completed.

Keep all this progress in mind when you stroll through the park today at Festiville.