One of 12 days of the year when if you’re meaning to type mm/dd/yy it looks like you’re typing mm/yyyy. Today lets spend some time in Lamar. I happen to reside in this small city, I grew up here. There are a few areas in and around town that I think should be improved. We are going to start in Clarksville, but you will see why as we go along. Quarry Street begins at AR Hwy 103 over in the Jamestown area (south of the city limits of Clarksville), no doubt if you’re from this area you have been on that road. It winds up a hill passing Big Danger Road and once on top it bridges over I-40 and on down into the city limits of Lamar. Quarry Street passes Lamar schools and winds through the Lamar cemetery. Back at the AR Hwy 103 tie in, what if that was redone? If we travel towards the west on 103 we would find Fisherman Road about 3 tenths of a mile down. What if we started to ease towards Quarry Street from there? Then stopped 103 at the intersection. The next step in my plan is to make the rest of old 103 and Quarry Street all the way into Lamar AR Hwy 359. So from the marina over to Lamar Schools becomes AR Hwy 359. But that doesn’t tie in to the existing AR Hwy 359 alignment. Stick with me. First off, Quarry Street would need to be upgraded to a state highway, that’ll be the first step. Next, the bridge over I-40 would need exit ramps. This would become Exit 62 on I-40. Once Quarry Street, or AR Hwy 359 as it is now known, gets to Elberta Street we have a couple of options. A) we continue AR 359 on Quarry Street through the cemetery, build a bridge over the creek and run the road right into Cabin Creek Avenue, then go a tenth of a mile into US Hwy 64. B) continue on Quarry Street as before, but build the new location to tie into 3rd Street, this road runs right into South Seminary Street which ties directly into AR Hwy 359 on the other side of US Hwy 64. C) Instead of continuing into the cemetery, use the Elberta alignment to run into Cabin Creek Avenue, then over to Seminary Street.
A will be represented by blue, B will be represented by red, and C will be represented by green.
Personally I think options B and C are the best. C is the best option if you are totally against construction happening near the cemetery. I understand that, I would only propose making the cemetery portion a 2 lane curb and gutter section that’s 23 foot wide. That would be 2 10 foot lanes and since the standard curb and gutter is 1.5 feet, that is where the 23 feet come into play. It is about 17 right now so we’d only be adding 3 foot on each side through there. The fun part about options A and B is building a new bridge or box culvert. So if the Quarry Street turning into AR Hwy 359 never becomes a reality, I’d still like to see option A or B carried out. But, instead of building a brand new bridge or box, how about we find a couple of short historic bridges and place them side by side. This would really make a statement, it would instantly become an icon of the community. That’s just a thought. I’d like to see that done on Cumberland Street as well. I just think it would be really neat to upcycle some older bridges and repurpose them here. I’m referring to old metal truss styled bridges for those who are scratching their heads at me right now. I think if you could find 2 and place them side by side, you could have each bridge carry 1 lane of traffic instead of 2 lanes and you’d eliminate that much more load. These bridges have been carrying 2 lanes for up to 100 years, with a new substructure they could last another lifetime. Now lets move away from the 359 stuff and pivot over to Johnsonville Street. This is the city street that is across from AR Hwy 123. Lets assume that my widening of US Hwy 64 and my AR Hwy 359 became a reality. There is a HUGE vacant lot between the Post Office and Lamar City Hall. Part of it has been sold and there will be some kind of doctor office built there. Down Johnsonville Street is the key to this idea. There needs to be a downtown built here. I’m not talking about all the dumb metal buildings that have been turned into fireworks stands and pawn shops in Lamar, why did someone allow that? No I’m talking about 2 and 3 story buildings that might have a shop or a restaurant (God forbid we ever have a nice place to eat in Lamar) housed in it. Johnsonville Street is the key, it could become a revenue making machine. If you carried those downtown styled buildings down to the City Hall, and across US 64 to either side of AR 123, then you’ve just created a town square. Think of all the revenue possibilities that Lamar is missing out on by not having this. I’m talking about something like this:
I honestly have no idea where this is, but it represents what I’m talking about. Lamar needs a downtown. Lets make this happen.
Until next week