Following are excerpts from Green Forest residents' public comment forms submitted to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department at the June public meeting regarding the proposed route changes to U.S. Highway 62 in Green Forest.
"In 1965 I built and personally managed what is now known as Harps Foods here in Green Forest. As Green Forest grew I was able to remodel and enlarge that facility four times before selling to Harps. Green Forest has flourished during my time here largely because of being located on U.S. Highway 62. ... I know what happens to small towns when they are bypassed. I am asking for the same consideration that was given to Berryville. Berryville has continued to grow with the highway traffic coming through their town. Green Forest can also continue to prosper but only if we too can keep our main street highway. I ask you to spare our town of the threat of a bypass. This is so important to the vitality of Green Forest."
Charlie Reece, mayor of Green Forest:
"As an Arkansan, I am proud of all Northern Arkansas has to offer visitors - from the beauty of the Buffalo River at St. Joe to the history found in Saunder's Museum in Berryville to the unique shops in Eureka Springs. The glue holding all these Arkansas 'treasures' together is the scenic drive which includes all the little towns and communities along the way. While Green Forest doesn't have a specific tourist draw, it represents the quaintness and beauty which makes Arkansas so very special. To intentionally bypass our town would deprive visitors to our area of the complete Arkansas experience."
"Green Forest is a farming town, not a tourist town. (A bypass) will not hurt."
"Any route you choose should include making a safe right-hand turn at (Highway) 62 and (Highway) 103 and also 62 and (Highway) 311 for trucks coming from the north. If you decide to go any way but the blue (northern) route, there should be additional consideration given to the safety aspect of this situation."
"I would prefer to see four lanes in the existing location, but I don't think that will happen. The blue route is the only one that will take the truck traffic out of town. Highways 103 North and 311 both have a lot of Tyson feed and live haul semi trucks, as well as Butterball and Calmaine Egg Farm on 103 North."
"I feel there is no reason for traffic to speed through Green Forest. Slowing down for several blocks should not be a problem. Consider Berryville and Alpena or Eureka Springs. Keep existing Highway 62 as is. Do not reroute it, please."
County Judge Sam Barr:
"At a time when it is becoming more and more important to find ways of creating new opportunities for our rural youth that will allow them to find opportunities and futures in their home towns, please consider the staggering death blow you could be dealing to the citizens of Green Forest and their neighbors in Carroll County if you divert this vital lifeline away from the people and into the fields around it."
Green Forest Police Chief John Bailey:
"This project has me deeply concerned, especially the three bypass options. As you are well aware, the bypass could impact the city of Green Forest with loss of revenue to our local businesses. The city of Green Forest depends greatly on these revenues to provide our residences with fire and police services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It would take years for new businesses to locate or relocate to the bypass area, and this loss of local income would affect the services we currently offer."
Jerry and Mary Kuster:
"Do nothing. It would only hurt our town."
"W do live on Highway 62, and going through town would take our yard. I don't like that. However, I believe the south route would be the only one to help with traffic in Green Forest. Tyson and school traffic would remain the same on the north route. They would still be using Highway 62 through town. If someone is coming to do any business in town, they will stop anyway. Otherwise, they aren't going to."
Tom and Mitzie McElroy:
"We think the 'no build' would be the most appropriate option. As it is now, Green Forest is set up similar to the Alpena area, which us 'locals' do not have a problem with. We just gear down to the speed limit to avoid a speeding ticket! But, in the alternative, our second choice would be one of the southern routes. A southern route would provide much easier access to the local schools, including the recently updated athletic facilities, which would benefit the school, since they are attempting to attract mor play-off and tournament activities."
"There are so many highways in the state in much need of repair. It looks like the money to be spent on this project would go a long way to make these needed repairs. The old saying 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' would seem to apply here."
"To accomplish two things - move traffic through Green Forest easier with less congestion and help preserve a small American town - the best option is to upgrade the existing highway through town. Four lanes through the historic part of town will save buildings, reduce costs, move traffic and preserve Green Forest. Any other option will cause the town to dry up."
"Going through the city would take up much needed parking for businesses."
Tommy Goins, owner Green Forest Flowers and Gifts:
"Being a business owner on the square, I am not in favor of the downtown route. Being a lifelong resident, I would be in favor of the green (southern) alternative because it is the least disruptive to homes and people's lives."
"I believe it would be well to just leave Green Forest city limits alone. Rather, use the highway funds to upgrade the two danger areas on Highway 62 east of Green Forest, where most accidents occur - that portion called the 'mile corner,' i.e. from County Road 902 east to the end of the portion just completed, and that called 'Dead Man's Curve' at the other end of the just completed section of Highway 62 east of Green Forest."
Bill Ray, retired Tyson manager:
"The City always complains about feathers and odor of trucks downtown. (A southern bypass) will eliminate this problem. For the future of Green Forest, this is the proper route. This will provide opportunity for new industry."
"Our home would be impacted in the blue (northern) route. This would be the second home that AHTD would have to settle with us in the last few years. I would also lose my shop building, which would affect my income present and future. The green (southern) route would impact the least amount of homes and would be the most cost effective."
"If this road goes north, it will split our (family's) properties down the middle. (I'm also) concerned about the small pieces of acreage without water for cattle."
"I don't live in Green Forest, but I am an employee of the school system, so I drive in town every weekday. Certain times of the day (7:30 a.m., noon, and after work) it is almost impossible to get on Highway 62 from the side roads. Traffic is continuing to increase and needs to go around the main part of the city."
"Because of the economic impact on existing Green Forest businesses, I feel it will be more beneficial to our town to upgrade our existing highway. If a reduced speed limit regulated traffic, which is customary in other towns, there is no need for a five lane highway. Our existing highway is sufficient for four lanes. I sincerely hope you seriously consider the wishes of our community - This is our home."
Matt Summers, Green Forest School District superintendent:
"To the east (Alpena) and west (Berryville), traffic flow is congested and slows to 30 to 35 miles per hour. Will the highway bypass those two towns in time? There is no economic advantage to bypassing the town, only negative."