JETS to create multimodal transfer facility to benefit NEA - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

JETS to create multimodal transfer facility to benefit NEA

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A former Jonesboro Fire Department will soon be renovated into a multimodal central transfer facility for JETS.

The Jonesboro City Council unanimously approved entering into an agreement with Cromwell Architects for renovation and construction on the facility.

JETS hopes to work with other transit systems in the Region 8 area to promote connectivity in Northeast Arkansas.

The money to renovate the building comes from grant money JETS receives from Congress each year.

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - JETS is looking to expand methods of transportation to all of Northeast Arkansas and beyond with a new central transfer facility that will become the focal point of their transit system

Their reasoning behind the idea is simple: connectivity. 

"We need a place to do our more effective central transfers," JETS Transit Director Steve Ewart told Region 8 News. "But we want to take that opportunity and move it way beyond just us, this is not just about us."

Ewart said to expound upon the idea of connectivity, they hope their reach will be far.

"As far south as Forrest City, as far north as Northern Randolph County."

JETS will be transforming the old fire station on Caraway and Matthews into a Regional Multimodal Transfer Facility. Ewart said they'll reach out to multiple transit systems, such as BRAD, NEAT and Greyhound, allowing them use of the facility as well.

By doing so, Ewart hopes they'll help rural areas reach Jonesboro and beyond, giving people the opportunity to live where they want and simply come to Jonesboro for their needs.

"We'd love to have them. We want neighbors. But we don't want them to have to do that."

Ewart said as the facility will be multimodal, they will also be accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists and be able to connect citizens to the local airport and train stations.

The facility is possible through grant money JETS receives from Congress each year.

"Because our system is relatively small, we haven't used all of our grant every year," Ewart explained. He said they've restructured their grant through the Federal Transit Administration to fund the facility.

"This appraises as $440,000 and the city is letting us use that as the local match. That leverages $1.6 million and we have $1.6 million in our grant," Ewart said.

Ewart said they still have to fine tune everything and won't know for a few more months if the current building will suffice or if they simply need to build a new one in that location.

However, they anticipate being done by fall of 2015.

Ewart said part of this facility will include putting sidewalks on Caraway from Matthews to Nettleton and assisting ASU with a pedestrian/bicycle crosswalk from Caraway to campus.

Region 8 News will update the progress as more decisions are set in stone regarding the facility.

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