Friday, August 10, 2012

Land Sale: Arkansas Times Has More Information, Vote Delayed

Well, I've got some folks mad at me, notably Mayor Hays, with whom I've enjoyed a good relationship over recent years. I've regularly praised the mayor for his efforts in building the trail and promoting quality-of-life issues and consider him a friend, but this struck a nerve. Sorry about that, Pat, but I was a little upset, myself.

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:

 http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2012/08/10/bicyclist-raises-questions-about-nlr-land-sale

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.
underpass.JPG

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow impressive plans. We are very lucky to have such a good Mayor. That is one tough job I would not want.

Anonymous said...

ha...looks like the mayor knows what he;s doing after all. maybe patience is a virtue

sherill strayhorn said...

Hey Barton, this comment is way off subject but didn't know how to contact you. Had an idea for a road race and wanted to put it out for opinion. What if there was a race that consisted of 3 team members. Each team member must do an out and back of maybe 20 miles. The major challenge would be that the whole team has the use the same bike!!! Since bike size would be fixed based on the bike of choice, choosing team members would be another challenge. There could be a ten minute pit stop between segments to allow for bike adjustments. Maybe a weird idea but sounds fun!!!

Anonymous said...

It would really be a shame to take such a pristine area and develop just for a few bucks no matter how nicely done. Too bad that Gene Pfiefer doesn't own this land.

ChrisC said...

@Anonymous -

Pristine!?!?

When's the last time you hiked into the old quarry? The number of beer cans, soda bottle, and old bonfire sites is startling. Not to mention the ruins of the old quarry operation. The area may be undeveloped, but it is FAR from pristine.

Brian said...

Though quite less than pristine, I still think the area helps define NLR and will be irrevocably altered by such development. The quiet rides along that stretch of river and the great views of and off the top of the Big Rock will never be enjoyed by future generations. At a point in time when the economic and social importance of parks and green spaces is finally getting a little recognition, a decently progressive city like NLR makes a decision like this!? It's just ridiculous.

JBar said...

I agree that it is not pristine, but it has the potential for far better use than as an apartment complex. The small creeks and waterfalls coming off of Fort Roots feel like the heart of the Ozarks and North Little Rock will never again have the opportunity to own a similar tract for parkland. There simply is no more to be had!

Anonymous said...

Surrounded by rock-face looks hot to live in summer. For those that have been there, Does it reflect all the heat back in and is a breeze blocked out? I have never been in there. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Condos can go to hell. I can't believe people want to bring traffic and tract condos into the heart of the River Trail it kills everything it represents. It's not going to bring business to NLR it isn't a real money maker and detracts from the main attraction that does attract people to NLR.

Anonymous said...

If the Council votes to go through with this sale then PLEASE do so at commercial market values. The commercial real estate value of this project should be substantially higher. If the City wants to benefit then they should at least get an independent appraisal and use that value as a starting point. Otherwise someone is getting an incredible deal and the City is losing revenue.

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