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port… from Kevin Costner’s 1989 film “Field of Dreams” about a man’s dream to make a corn field into a baseball diamond.

The hero in the movie successfully creates the baseball field and one game is held as a result.

Don Bradley, a UCA professor, wants to be that hero for the RITA project here in Faulkner County.  Bradley promoted his “build it and they will come” dreams for the Regional Transportation Intermodal Authority (RITA) at an FCTP lunch meeting in late July:

(See most of the entire presentation on our YouTube channel.)

Our concern is the effort and public (read “tax”) money involved in a project that may — or may not — result in an ongoing successful financial venture on the Arkansas River, just like the one-time use of the baseball field from the movie.

While Bradley emphasizes the “only thing we want to do is a study” by a nationally recognized “outside consultant with no ties to this area,” he goes on to say the money for the study is already set aside.

Interestingly, although Bradley emphasizes over and over there’s no “upfront” money and no taxpayer money required for this project, the funds already set aside by Senator Jason Rapert, Rep. David Meeks and others partially derive from GIF dollars distributed to our lawmakers. (GIF stands for general improvement funds, the excess taxes paid in by Arkansas citizens but not needed for our state’s balanced budget.)

We urge our Justices of the Peace to continue looking very carefully at the issues surrounding this proposed RITA project.  We’re told Arkansas has four other working RITAs.  How much do those RITAs contribute to the economic engine here in Arkansas, and at what expense to the local communities?  Did the local cities benefit from the time, money, and effort to build those RITAs?

Let’s get some solid facts behind us IF Faulkner County votes to go forward with this endeavor; a good feeling about the future (a “dream”) isn’t enough.

We wouldn’t want to go to all this work and expense, then have no ball field to show when we’re done, now would we?