Southwest residents demanding better roads

Southwest Little Rock homeowners want better roads

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – A group of people who live in Southwest Little Rock are calling for city leaders to direct more tax dollars to their neighborhoods.

People who live on Fairfield Avenue in Ward 2 met Thursday to try and get officials attention to the problems the neighborhood faces. Carissa Castro moved into her home eight years ago and she said she feels city leaders are ignoring the area and the safety of the children. She said the road is warped and there are too many cracks in the street.

"It's been like this for years. Bad," Castro said. "Kids have to walk in the streets, and we need cross walks too because a lot of kids walk to school.”

In 2012, the Little Rock City Board voted to divide infrastructure funds equally by wards, rather than directing funds towards neighborhoods with the greatest needs. According to the Arkansas Community Organizations, in September 2011, Little Rock voters approved a 3/8s cent increase in the city sales tax to be used for capital needs.

About $72 million from the new tax was to be used for street, damage and sidewalk projects. But Castro said she feels the money is not being used properly.

“We pay taxes over here, too. We shouldn’t be left behind,” Castro said.

Courtney Brown also resides on Fairfield, and he said he is concerned for the kids who play near the road.

"They always like to ride  their bikes and I don't think there's enough room for the cars to pass by sometimes," Brown said.

Multiple residents on the street sent e-mails to Ken Richardson, who serves on the City Board of Directors for Ward 2, to come out and listen to their complaints. Richardson did not return their phone calls or show up at the meeting.

Rohn Muse is running for the city board position in Ward 2, and he said people in the neighborhood need to work together to get the city to notice the issues.

"Nothing seems to get done unless attention is brought to it," Muse said. “So, at the very least I think there needs to be a survey done of this street and other streets in this area to see what can be done to improve the condition of the roads.”

Muse said there is a possibility the neighborhood could get the improvements it needs. The neighborhood would have to form an organization and get representation to put in an application.

“If they don’t have a representative who actually is representing them than they may not know that process to use. That’s the reason why they need to be organized as a neighborhood association because you get continual notices from the city about what’s going on what opportunities are present and available for neighborhoods to take benefit,” Muse said.

Castro agreed.

"If we don't come together as a community than it's not going to get done because the government not's doing nothing," she said.

While it is unclear when or if the roads will get fixed, people in Ward 2 will fight until their voices are heard.

"Southwest is not going to tolerate no more getting left behind and our tax money going to the wealthy part. We deserve out tax pay over here," Castro said.

THV11 also tried to reach out to Ken Richardson Thursday, but he was not available for comment.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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