There will not be a vote at NLR City Council on the land sale proposal on Monday night and information is flowing.
While I went forth with limited information, I was also told directly that there was to have been vote on Monday and the item is on the agenda. A good rabble rousing can sometimes slow the wheels of progress and it now appears there will be a bit of discussion.
Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times spoke directly to Mayor Hays and has a very good follow-up below. I had e-mailed the mayor last night, along with some members of the council, but did not get an immediate response other than that the measure was to be voted upon.
The PowerPoint presentation in the link below makes the project look quit attractive, but the discussion remains as to whether it is appropriate land use and a good deal for the community.
Link to Ark Times post:
From Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times:
UPDATE: I talked with Mayor Pat Hays and got a history lesson in the city's acquisition of the land years ago and a period when there was talking of building a performance space for music and other purposes. The limited access made its use for a mass attendance facility a non-starter he said.
Now, he said, he has a proposal to build 200 to 300 condos or apartments on the roughly 20 to 30 buildable acres there, with some light commercial uses and perhaps a marina on the river. North Little rock Realtor Byron McKimmey is leading the group, Hays said.
Hays said he was inclined to support the plan, but he noted the City Council was divided about developing the property at one time. He said there won't be a vote Monday and likely not at the next Council meeting either. "I want to run it up the flagpole," he said.
Hays emphasized that the river bike/hike trail was "sacrosanct." He said he wouldn't vote for any plant that put a vehicle or other crossing in the way of trail traffic. As a consequence, he said the investment group had drawn a plan to take the existing trail up several feet on existing topography and then use a bridge or other means to pass over a path between the development and the river. He said he'd told developers the trail not only couldn't be adversely affected, "it had to be improved." I'm trying to get a copy of the site plan.
River Road now deadends at the property. But work is underway now to close a portion of River Road and use a newly built extension of Third Street to reach that property.
City Commerce Director Joe Smith provided me with a presentation on the proposed Bluffs development, including the schematic drawings below of overpassing the bike trail.