Blytheville nonprofit suggests permanently closing city road

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BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. – A nonprofit senior living complex is floating the idea of closing a Blytheville city street.

The northern part of Village Avenue provides access to more than 400 crumbling houses that used to be part of the Westminster Village senior living facility.

Executive Director Tammy Swanson said her organization can’t afford to demolish the homes, but she fears seniors that still live in the other part of the complex could venture into these homes and get lost.

“I’d be afraid it would be too late," Swanson said. "They would get in and get confused."

In order to prevent this, Swanson has suggested closing part of Village Avenue. She suggested it would also prevent motorists from speeding down the road, which she said is a constant problem.

“It would be a whole lot cheaper to just put the fence across the road, and it would stop the traffic problem,” she said.

But not everyone is on-board with closing the street.

As a compromise, City Councilman Matt Perrin has drafted an ordinance that would allow for speed bumps on Village Avenue, but he said he can’t support closing it.

“We have residents at the north end of this street that are Blytheville residents who really, if we close this street, would have no way to get into town without having to go through our neighboring town of Gosnell,” Perrin said.

It appears the road will stay open, but Blytheville residents shouldn't be surprised if the houses are soon fenced off.

“If I can’t close the road, I’m at least gonna put up a fence still,” Swanson said.

Perrin said he hopes to get the speed bump ordinance on next month’s city council agenda.

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