Friday, November 18, 2011

Blind/Deaf School Board rejects Easter Seals proposal

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 6:33 AM

IN DISPUTE: Former Easter Seals center on Lee Avenue.
  • IN DISPUTE: Former Easter Seals center on Lee Avenue.

The Board of the Arkansas Schools for the Blind and Deaf last night rejected a proposal from Easter Seals to transfer its $1-a-year lease of almost 10 acres of Blind School land to Little Rock businessman John Chandler, who proposed to buy the former Easter Seals center on the property at the eastern end of Lee Avenue for business offices, including for his clothing business. A neighbor who's been following the developments and opposes office use, provides my report.

The neighbor, Joann Coleman, said the board also asked for more details on a later-developing proposal from Stephens Inc. executive Doug Martin to buy the property and use it solely for a single-family residence. Chandler agreed to pay $240,000 to Easter Seals for the building and transfer of the lease. Martin has proposed — though he has no contract — to pay $240,000 each to Easter Seals and the state, plus pay up to $500,000 to remove the old building, abandoned by Easter Seals when it built a new facility in western Little Rock.



Chris Barrier (who represents Easter Seals) spoke for the Chandler proposal. He pointed out that Easter Seals and Chandler have entered into a "binding contract" for the transfer of the leasehold and explained the proposal.

Doug Martin spoke for his proposal. He explained that the original proposal split the money up 50/50 but of course it could be adjusted to satisfy Act 687 as to who should receive the proceeds.

Glenn Borkowski (president of the Hillcrest Residents Association) spoke on behalf of the residents and HRA. He pointed out the HRA supported Mr Martin's proposal.. That Mr. Chandler's had some unresolved zoning issues and wasn't appropriate for the neighborhood.

Neighbors — retired Justice David Newbern, Tommy Jameson and Carolyn Newbern — spoke for Mr. Martin's proposal.

The Board asked a few questions. Chandler's attorney, Tim Grooms, kept reminding everyone that Easter Seals and Chandler had a binding contract.

The parent respresentative on the Board asked whether it was legal for Easter Seals to enter to a contract before seeking the approval of the Board.

Both Board members members of public expressed concern that assuming the lease would allow the land to remain out of the city zoning and it would also avoid property taxes as state land.

Board Chairman Douglas Watson expressed concern over Chandler's proposal as a former student of the school. Mary Weeks, Board member, expressed concern as a former teacher and principal.

The Board voted unanimously to deny the transfer to Chandler and the change in use request as not being in the interest of the school or the state of Arkansas.

The Board voted to table Mr. Martin's proposal until legal issues including the division of the proceeds questions could be worked out.

The Board voted to get an outline of the legal restrictions, questions, divisions of the proceeds advice from counsel, Deputy AG Amanda Gibson, at next meeting. The Board included in this item whether Easter Seals has a valid leasehold under Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the lease.

Deputy AG Amanda Gibson is to work with Martin to iron out some of the legal issues.

Mr. Chandler's attorney requested that he be allowed to amend his proposal at the next meeting. It was pointed out that the transfer had been denied and an amendment was not in order.

The board took a break, and residents went out.

It is believed that Chandler is planning to offer another proposal at the next meeting in which he is going to add money for the Blind School.

I told the Board while I supported Martin if the legal issues couldn't be worked out that my offer to help write grants to get the building torn down [and the property, which sits across a deep ravine from school property, be converted to green space] still stood.

Tags: , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Thursday's open line and the daily video

    Here's the open line and the daily video.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • UPDATE: Ted Suhl gets seven years, $200,000 fine for bribery

    Ted Suhl was sentenced this morning by federal Judge Billy Roy Wilson on four counts of attempting to bribe a state official to help his mental health business supported by Medicaid money. He received 84 months and a $200,000 fine and is to report to prison in early January. He will appeal.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Question raised on Dallas Cowboy gift to NLR cops

    Blogger Russ Racop raises an interesting question, as he sometimes does, about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' gift of free tickets for North Little Rock cops to attend a Dallas Cowboy football game.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Beyond rehoming: crowdfunding an investigative project

    The Times has just launched a crowdfunding campaign to support a large-scale investigative project into Arkansas's child welfare system. We're raising money through, a platform that supports do-good projects. Donations are tax deductible.
    • Mar 13, 2015
  • A charter school advocate reverses course

    David Hornbeck was a charter school advocate as superintendent of Maryland schools and as Philadelphia school superintendent. No more. He says their results are mixed and they do harm to conventional public schools. He's opposing an expansion plan in Maryland.
    • Mar 9, 2015
  • Little Rock crowd rallies to oppose school privatization bill

    More than 200 people gathered on a rainy night at Calvary Baptist Church in the Heights to hear speakers urge defeat Rep. Bruce Cozart's HB 1733 to allow the state to take over any school or school district judged in acidic distress and turn it over to a private charter school operator.
    • Mar 9, 2015

Most Shared

  • Issue 3: blank check

    Who could object to a constitutional amendment "concerning job creation, job expansion and economic development," which is the condensed title for Issue 3 for Arkansas voters on Nov. 8?
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation