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Fourth Street: Route to future

By Sherry Koonce skoonce@news-journal.com
Nov. 26, 2012 at 11 p.m.

In response to Longview’s continued northward growth, one of the city’s major thoroughfares will be extended to make way for future commercial development.

Longview’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on Monday approved a request by developer Richard Henson to allow an extension of Fourth Street.

The extension would cross Hawkins Parkway where Fourth Street ends, then slice through the western tip of Hinsley Park before winding onto private property, eventually connecting with another access road planned by the developer off of U.S. 259.

City Planner Michael Shirley said the parks property cannot be developed because it is located on a flood plain, but is suitable for an access road.

Though the developer will pay for construction of the road, it will remain city property, and will be maintained by the city, Shirley said.

“The developer is building a city street and giving it back to us,” Shirley said.

At the same time, a second access road off of U.S. 259 will be constructed south of the UT Tyler Longview University Center.

The developer plans for Fourth Street to eventually go all the way to U.S. 259, Shirley said. It will be beneficial to the city to have the two tie in together, he said.

Parks and Recreation board members agreed Monday to amend the U.S. 259 access road to include a four-lane intersection instead of a three-lane.

Shirley said he does not expect the Fourth Street extension to significantly interfere with the existing tree line that buffers the Hinsley Park baseball fields.

Parks and Recreation director Laura Hill said the developer plans to build additional retail stores and restaurants in the future. The Fourth Street extension would provide access to that commercial development.

Already, Fourth Street is lined with a number of new retail establishments — many that are newly-constructed.

Board members also heard a request from area bicycle enthusiasts who would like to a see an off-road mountain bike trail built near the Paul Boorman Trail.

Jeff Pierson and Jim Tilley, members of the Longview Bicycle Club, said the city does not have a good place for residents to ride mountain bikes.

“We have to drive to Tyler and Shreveport,” Pierson said.

The only place to ride mountain bikes in Longview is on private property, where a fee is charged and an insurance policy required by the landowner, Pierson said.

The men suggested using existing areas around the Paul Boorman trail.

Board members agreed to consider the matter further, likely at their next board meeting, scheduled in January. The board will not meet in December.



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