Fayetteville Mayor Candidates Debate Parking, City’s Vision

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The two candidates running for Fayetteville mayor sparred at a debate Wednesday over solutions to downtown parking and what the city’s vision should be.

Lioneld Jordan, seeking re-election to a second four-year term, said he supports construction of a downtown parking deck near Dickson Street to address parking shortages. Challenger Dan Coody, who served as mayor from 2001-2008, said five decks already aren’t fully utilized in the area, especially after-hours. He said a new deck would have to be paid off over the next 25 years through money collected in parking fees and parking tickets. 

Jordan and Coody debated for 30 minutes in the City Administration building on West Mountain Street before about 60 people at an event sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Washington County.

The two candidates face off in the Nov. 6 election.

Coody touted his role in helping build a trails system in the area and said Fayetteville currently lacks the “vision” of area cities such as Bentonville.

Jordan said the city’s debt when he took over after Coody’s time in office was $144 million. Jordan said he has worked to “keep the city from going under” and didn’t “have time to develop a lot of vision.”

Coody said he supports developing College Avenue, calling the used car lots and shuttered buildings along the thoroughfare a “scar across the beautiful face of our city.”

Jordan said he has helped build partnerships with the University of Arkansas, the Chamber of Commerce, Washington County government and local schools in leading Fayetteville to being named by Forbes magazine the No. 19 city in the nation for doing business. The city has attracted $500 in business development in the past three years, he said.