Brother Jim has an interesting hobby. I call it “Sidewalk Superintendent” of Chaffee Crossing. Jim is an early riser, and in order to keep from waking his wife, Pat, he gets up, dresses, has his breakfast then takes a drive through Chaffee Crossing to see what progress has been made since the day before. He has been a part of everything that has been built, not in reality, but in observation . He knows every housing area, every business, in other words, what’s what at Chaffee Crossing. His interest is genuine.
Having been on the very first Committee as Greenwood’s Representative on the LRA in the closing of Fort Chaffee and the turning back the 7,200 acres for Civilian use. I have been anxious to see what has been done out there. Of course I have see what can be seen as one drives down the main roads. At one time I had been taken on a tour of the industrial part of the redevelopment.
Last week brother Jim invited me on his early morning tour. I was thrilled to get to go. It was amazing to see what is going on. When I attended my first LRA meeting it was hard for me to even think of all this happening. I knew it would take years for it to happen. All I can say it has taken a lot of hard work on the part of those on the Redevelopment Committee. I had seen the housing development as I drove down Zero Street. I just didn’t realize how large it was, how many houses has been built street after street. It looked as if all the houses are occupied. That is just one of the many housing developments, Hundreds of houses have been built at Chaffee Crossing. Most of them already sold. Where did all the home owners come from? The apartments that you can see from the street, I had no idea that it is such a big complex. Hundreds of apartments and I have been told there are 8 apartments to a building and are rented as fast as they are built. Building is in progress of several more buildings. BROWNWOOD LIFE CARE, which has occupied the old Sparks Manor on Towson Ave. for years, has a new State of the Arts building on Wells Lake Road, near the Nature Center. New Condominiums are being built near by. The new ARKANSAS BEST HEADQUARTERS ,although it may not be the Trump Tower, but it is a mighty impressive building. As is the New Medical College Building. The new Massard Missionary Baptist Church, the Fire Station, the old rock school now a first class Restaurant. The late Lilly Wingfield fought so hard to preserve that little building. The first trip I made, with the LRA was to McClure Amphitheater where we traveled through the woods in a vehicle then walked through a briar patch and weeds. Today it one of Fort Smiths treasurers. The stone theater has been restored to its natural beauty and the view to the west is spectacular. It was once used for training lectures for the hundreds of soldiers training at Camp Chaffee. I just wonder how many of the young soldiers got to see a beautiful Arkansas sun set from there? I was also amazed at the number of cars surrounding the different industries now in operation which means people are being employed. The MARS PET FOOD is expanding. So much going on it is almost unbelievable. Many of the original buildings are being restored. The Barber Shop and Chaffee Museums. The list goes on and on. It was a GREAT TOUR that only brother Jim could have given me. I’m glad my brother is a “Sidewalk Superintendent” and a good one.