The board of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority chose Crafton Tull civil engineers to evaluate the three sites the Authority is considering for the park for park construction at a meeting this afternoon at the Willie Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center.
Five companies — McClelland Consulting Engineers Inc., the Cromwell firm, Development Consultants Inc. and White-Daters & Associates in addition to Crafton Tull — responded to the Authority's request for proposals. The members of the authority, with Ed Drilling abstaining because of a family connection to one of the businesses, voted on the companies after individual studies of the proposals. They ranked the companies on a piece of paper and tallied up the rankings. White Daters came in second. It's not known how members voted; I'll ask for that information tomorrow. Only three members of the Authority board were at the meeting; a fourth, Jay Chessir, was on a speaker phone. Absent members had previously sent in their choices.
Authority member Dickson Flake noted that the voting process was unusual in that the Authority has no staff to evaluate and recommend to the board. He said copies of the proposals will be posted on a website scheduled to go up in a week to 10 days; the address will be lrresearchpark.com lrtechpark.com.
Flake said that the board initially asked for cost estimates from the bidders but on the advice of City Attorney Tom Carpenter informed bidders that it was contrary to a state statute to ask for bids and not to submit the estimates. The board returned an estimate provided by Crafton Tull, Crafton Tull senior vice president Jerry Kelso said.
Crafton Tull's proposal was the only one to include preliminary notes about the three sites, and it found several problems with a site proposed by Flake. Crafton Tull's pluses for the site, south of I-630 between Monroe Street on the west and Elm on the east, were that it is visible from the interstate, adjacent to a children's library being built and that UAMS employees could easily get there by car or on bike on the Jonesboro street bridge. Negatives: It will require the removal of 272 inhabited structures, will cause a "major disruption of a city grid," has no direct access from the interstate and has limited access from 12th Street, and is the furthest site from UALR, which like UAMS is supposed to provide the "intellectual capital" for the park.
An area off 12th Street between Fair Park and Jackson Street has better access from I-630, Crafton Tull said, but would require the removal of 123 inhabited structures. Grid disruption would be moderate. The third site, which encompasses the Methodist Children's Home campus, would require less demolition than the other two, but is the furthest from UAMS and would require the destruction of 113 inhabited structures (including the Methodist campus, presumably). The Methodist Children's Home is not, unsurprisingly, supportive of that area, since it has just invested in improvements there.
Board member Dr. Mary Good said it should take a couple of weeks to negotiate a price with Crafton Tull, and should one be agreed on, another six months for the study to be complete. A site could be selected 60 days after the study.
Flake and Good stressed that the engineers study would not provide the final word on the site selection. In fact, Flake said he is recommending that the board seek input from Angle Technology, which did the feasibility study on the park for the Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Mary Good, who has been the chair of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority board since its formation as a nonprofit in 2011, informed UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson in a letter Jan. 20 that she will step down March 15, it was announced at Wednesday's tech park board meeting. She said she would stay longer, if needed, until her replacement is named. /more/
The Little Rock Technology Park Authority board this afternoon signed off, with one nay vote, on the terms of two loans totaling $17.5 million offered by a consortium of Little Rock banks led by Centennial Bank. The authority board also agreed to extend the deadline for Richard Mays to accept its offer of $845,000 for his building at 415 Main St. to noon Friday. The deadline had been noon today. /more/
The Little Rock Technology Park Authority board voted this afternoon to offer Richard Mays $845,000, the sum his appraiser reached for his building at 415 Main St., while concurrently preparing to file a condemnation lawsuit. Mays has until noon Nov. 16 to agree to the offer; otherwise, the board will proceeds with a lawsuit. /more/
The Little Rock Technology Park Authority has received an updated appraisal of 415 Main St., a two-story, 10,020-square-foot office building owned by lawyer Richard Mays, that puts its value at $670,000. /more/
It was a long Little Rock Technology Park Authority board meeting tonight, as the board took up issues of eminent domain and heard from the attorney for a credit union that has been excluded from a lending proposal to the park. /more/
The Arkansas Federal Credit Union, having gotten nowhere with complaints to the publicly financed Little Rock Technology Park Authority, has complained to the city board of directors that they were unfairly cut out of a lending consortium for financing of construction in the downtown project because banks don't like credit unions.They are correct. /more/
Here's a plug for last night's first Arkansas Women's Hall of Fame induction, a happening produced by a partnership of Arkansas Business Publishing Group and the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. /more/
After hearing a presentation by the Little Rock Coalition of Neighborhoods asking that it "be doubtful about the costs" of the $631.7 million 30 Crossing project, the Metroplan Board of Directors today approved an amendment to its 2016-2020 transportation improvement plan to include the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's budget for widening I-30.
Consultants hired by the city to advise on downtown planning now that the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department plans to widen Interstate 30 told the City Board today that it ought to enter into an agreement with the AHTD to insure the city has a "place at the table" before and during the project's "design-build" phase.
When it comes to rank demagoguery and fear-mongering, this from Tom Cotton is hard to top: "Groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico who have clearly shown they’re willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking and potentially even terrorism. They could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas."
Rep. Justin Harris and his wife, Marsha, have issued a statement through their lawyer in advance of tomorrow afternoon's press conference, at which Harris is expected to offer comment on the rehoming of their adopted daughters at a home where they were subsequently sexually abused.
The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler digs in to Cotton's demagoguery on ISIS and Mexcian drug cartels joining forces to invade Arkansas. The result: Four Pinnochios. Just another liberal fact-checker though, right?
The first thing to understand is that before it's a presidential election, it's a TV program. To the suits at CNN, NBC and Fox News, that means it's about ratings and money. So of course they're going to play it as a cliffhanger.
Of course the take over of the Governor's Mansion by Asa Hutchinson was his idea, not that of legislators who claimed credit. And the reason portends changes in historic appearance and use of what was once the people's mansion.
The rationalists in both parties and the nonpartisan public have little time left to sort out Donald Trump and his magic with the lusty crowds that show up for his rallies, hang on his tweets, follow his Fox News gabfests and give him outsized votes in the primaries.
Still more evidence mounts that control was the reason for legislation by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to strip the Governor's Mansion Commission of its power. Read more about the Hutchinson families artistic disagreements and also their desire to reduce public access to the building, including the Grand Hall built for that purpose.