Reece and other Green Forest officials and residents are concerned about the future of the city if the Highway Department decides to re-route Highway 62 out of the downtown area.
The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has three proposals to present to residents of Green Forest on the issue of moving or revamping the highway: the first is to keep the route the same; the second is to move the highway's route to the south of town; and the third would move the highway's route north of the city's downtown.
"Personally, I don't think moving it north would work," Reece said. "There are graveyards there and they would have to move those."
Reece says he's been working with the Green Forest Chamber of Commerce to send out invitation letters to city residents urging them to attend Thursday's meeting. The meeting, which is a drop-in informational session, runs from 4 to 7 p.m.
"I want (the revamped Highway 62) to go through the center of town," Reece said. "We might have to make some room for the five lanes, but if Berryville can do it, so can we."
Reece said if the highway were to be moved south of town, the city would have to vote on annexing the land two miles south of the Tyson plant, south of the city park and an urban development area to the west.
"Folks are not excited about it," Reece added. "What worries me is, it will take all the traffic to the bypass and we'd lose our downtown businesses."
Green Forest resident and owner of the Country Rooster, Rob Kerby, who is against the bypass north or south of the city, references other small towns like Omaha and Hindsville whose businesses have suffered due to the re-routing outside of town of their major thoroughfares.
"They would be cutting off the artery that supplies the blood to the city," Kerby said. "Look at Omaha, it's a ghost town. Everything on the main street has dried up; and in Hindsville, they are fighting it with signs to try and direct traffic back to downtown. If it happens here, it will kill our Main Street."
Kerby suggested splitting the route into two one-way streets.
"Eastbound traffic could come in on Main Street, and the westbound traffic would be on Olive Street," he said. "It would revitalize downtown. With the traffic on Olive going behind the main business on Main, it would be a real incentive to dress up the back side of the business where this is more parking. I think that's a brilliant idea."
Kerby thinks this would be the easiest solution.
"We might have to take out some places or go around (them)," Kerby acknowledged. "(But) why not breath new life back into the city?"
Don Nichols, the department chief over the Assessment Environmental Division of the Highway Department, says the AHTD did look into Kerby's suggestion of a one-way couplet, but the idea did not pass the initial planning analysis stage of the proposed project.
"The study we did (on Sept. 8, 2011) was a survey of the businesses there, and 92-94 percent of their business comes from the town's people," Nichols said. "Also, we studied where the location of the city is in reference to larger towns. We did talk about it, and after the environmental assessment, we dropped it due to the impacts it would cause."
However, of the three traffic flow options that will be presented at Thursday's meeting, Nichols said that one of the proposals does include slight shifts on the existing highway.
"That option is included," he said. "We want to make people aware of the situation, and there will be more public meetings held before a final decision is made and rights-of-way are discussed."