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Dear President White and members of the Bentonville School Board,

On April 23, 2008, the Bella Vista Patriots finally caught Cooper Communities Inc. (CCI) throwing illegal materials into the Trafalgar stump dump. Blue Mountain Storage owned the property at the time and the Bella Vista Property Owners Association (BVPOA) leased the dumpsite from Blue Mountain Storage from 2003 until Dec. 31, 2018. Blue Mountain Storage did not have a permit. The Bella Vista Patriots informed the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), and it did nothing other than ordering CCI to get their illegal items out of the dump and dispose of them properly.

In July 2018 the dumpsite caught on fire and burned for almost a year. Residents in a half-mile radius around the dumpsite suffered property damage, emotional and possibly injury to their physical health. A couple of months ago, ADEQ recognized the BVPOA as one of the most responsible for the disaster and ordered BVPOA to put out the fire. BVPOA did a magnificent job of getting that done at the tune of about $4 million of our membership money.

I mentioned this bit of history above to preface the following proposal. The Bentonville School Board has always used the reason to not build another school building in Bella Vista because we don't have a suitable building site. Well, we very soon will have. In about six or seven months, there are many lawsuits that will be coming to fruition requiring millions of dollars to settle the complaints for damages caused by the stump dump fire.

The BVPOA is now flat broke. The only way the lawsuits can be paid for is by selling assets. Bella Vista doesn't need seven golf courses. Perhaps the Bentonville School district could offer to buy at least enough of one of those courses to build another elementary school. Bella Vista has over 3,000 students and some of those students have to get on a school bus about 6:15 each morning and they don't get back home until after 4 p.m. That's too much wasted education time bopping up and down in a bus. Any plan to reduce the traffic situation in Bentonville is a good plan.

Perhaps making an offer to purchase Riordan Hall would even be a better idea. There is enough land there to build another elementary school building for grades K through 4. Cooper Elementary houses only about half of our students of that age. I'm not an architect, but it looks like Riordan Hall could easily be converted into a gymnasium with classrooms and dressing rooms surrounding the gym. There is a stage at one end and a fully-equipped exercise weight room across the hall. Adequate parking space already exists, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and tennis complex.

Bottom line: Offer to buy land from BVPOA and build an elementary school on it.

Jim Parsons

Bella Vista

Editorial on 09/04/2019

Print Headline: School district should buy POA land

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