Folks, I was caught off guard by this, but the NLR City Council is set to vote on the sale of city owned land at the quarry along the River Trail for a multiuse development. I have little in the way of details, but I have serious questions about vehicular access in light of the promised closing of River Road to vehicular traffic. While I'm not against center-city development, certainly preferring it to urban sprawl, I think most of us perceived this as valuable park space and once it is gone, it is gone forever. Take a look at the impasse at Dillard's on the other side of the river and we can see how giving up this narrow strip between the Big Rock and the river may have serious implications. I am not placated by a statement that says "well, the trail stays". Damn right. The River Trail is the very reason that this property has become valuable and I do not want to see it compromised. At first glance, the deal smells sneaky and I feel more than a little betrayed.
It appears that I'm waving a warning flag on something that is a done deal, but the lack of public discussion on this leads to suspicion. I fear that the view from Emerald Park will become a view of rooftops and parking lots and that would be a sad legacy to the last days of Pat Hays's tenure.
Friday morning update:I'm hearing the plans call for tunnels to separate the trail from vehicular traffic. This project has obviously been in the works for some time out of the public eye. This is public property and the citizens of North Little rock some have an opportunity to see and approve of this proposed project, whatever it may be, before the mayor and city council vote to sell off an irreplaceable piece of property at what appears to be a fraction of its value. If my quick math is correct, the price is about 1/10 of the per acre asking price of the property for sale down the road at Rockwater.It sounds like a swet deal for somebody, but certainly not for the people of North Little Rock.
Edit 2: The buying entity is listed as "Commercial Real Estate 1, Inc" , not listed as "not current" with the Secretary of State. I'm sure that's simply a matter of paying fees to date and I don't claim any extertise in such legal matters.
This may be a good deal for all concerned but it needs to be seen in the light of day.
Here's a link to the City Council agenda: