Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Public Hearing Brings Pro & Con To Baxter One-Way Decision

Baxter residents and business owners shared differing opinions for the plan to turn Broad Street into a one-way street during a public hearing on Thursday.

Veterans Barber Shop Owner Jonathan Williams said the change would provide much-needed parking and make the street safer. Williams said the decision should be made based off of facts and data.

“I know if you ask people, ‘Who wants a one-way street?’ and that’s all you say, most people are just going to say, ‘No. I don’t want a one-way street,” Williams said. “It’s confusing. I don’t like it.’ But once your explain why it’s necessary, the benefits of it, this – Broad Street is ideally situated for a one-way street.”

A representative from Baxter Bi-Rite said the change would negatively impact the local citizens, even if there was an increase in parking space. He said people are used to how the street is now, and locals would lose that convenience if it changed.

Mayor John Martin said he does not want anything to happen to Baxter Bi-Rite, but other business owners have told him and the city council that the change would benefit them as Baxter grows.

“The older generation, like myself, I’m older than dirt, but I’ve learned to change in a lot of ways,” Martin said. “And everybody else will, they will learn to change.”

Citizen June Lewis said the city tried making the road a one-way at one point in the 1970s, with poor results near Baxter Bi-Rite.

“They put the markers one-way, everybody didn’t like it, they changed it and put it the other way,” Lewis said. “But during that time, when you have a flash flood, the water comes down from the railroad track and it floods the front of his building and my building.”

Lenny and Eva Owner Kellie Fitzpatrick said she measured the width of Broad Street and found that certain portions of it fail to meet the recommended measurements for a two-way street from the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

The council considering changes to the area as part of a plan to improve the downtown corridor.

In other business, Baxter passed budgets Thursday night for the General and Special Revenue Fund and the Water and Sewer Fund. The proposed budgets passed on first reading and will remain in effect for one calendar year beginning July 1, 2024.