Former Congressman Vic Snyder will moderate at a public hearing tonight on the Little Rock Technology Park, set at the less- than-felicitous time of 7:30 p.m. at UALR's Engineering and Information Technology Building, Room 203. That's where tech park board chairman Dr. Mary Good works, as it happens.
Charles Dilks, who worked on the Angle study plan commissioned by the chamber in 2008 and who the tech park authority has commissioned to consult on potential locations for the park, will answer questions from the public. Dilks has recommended four sites in lieu of the three neighborhoods suggested by the Angle report but no longer (in theory) under consideration because of neighborhood backlash. They are:
* DOWNTOWN: A 10-acre site east of Interstate 30, proposed by Moses Tucker for property mostly controlled by World Services for the Blind, which has given up on a plan to build a new facility there. Good has been harshly critical of this site and questioned the price and size, though proponents, including Mayor Mark Stodola, have said additional parcels could be added. This land costs about $5.2 million. Backers have touted its proximity to Acxiom, the Clinton Library, Heifer and a growing residential community. Dilks noted it's "far" from sponsoring institutions, though the neighborhood presents attractive features.
* COL. GLENN AND UNIVERSITY: A parcel of up to 84 acres recommended by Flake and Kelley for the University District Partnership on the south side of Col. Glenn, at the southern edge of the UALR campus. No price given until precise needs are known. It includes a shopping center, former Coleman Dairy property and some Fourche Creek flood plain land, noted unfavorably by Dilks and certain to be a focus of opponents. It's contiguous to campus and work there would be a shot in the arm for a struggling neighborhood. Dilks noted the need to remove retail tenants, though Hank Kelley has said most are in short-term leases are readily able to relocate. Dilks also said the site's very proximity to UALR might be a negative to other sponsors by identifying it too closely with UALR.
* RIVERDALE: A proposal from Flake and Kelley for one of the Verizon (formerly Alltel) buildings in Riverdale (1 Allied Drive, Building 5), a 224,000-square-foot building with up to 22 acres counting adjacent undeveloped ground. Dilks said the large building would have to be largely vacant at the outset, a possible drawback, and said the single large structure would make it impossible to build a mixed-use campus.
* JOHN BARROW: This is 30 to 40 acres along the 1900-2200 blocks of John Barrow Road, a neighborhood south of Kanis Road pushed by its city director, Doris Wright. Another Barrow neighborhood site — 37 acres along Riley Drive, just south of Interstate 630 — was withdrawn because it's under contract now for a medical facility. Dilks said the site would be easy to develop, but was expensive and a long way from sponsors.
Many Arkansas schools don't have sufficiently high-speed Internet. A task force of lawmakers, education officials and business leaders recently recommended that K-12 schools use the existing fiber optic network connecting Arkansas's public universities, the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON). /more/
Brent Birch, the newly hired director of the Tech Park, will start work July 7. He'll work out of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce until the ARK Challenge wraps up at the end of the year when he'll move into the temporary space the tech park is subleasing on the first floor of the Block 2 Lofts building on Markham. /more/
In our daily video roundup, Max also talks about the Arkansas attorney general approving a ballot title for a proposed constitutional amendment that would decriminalize marijuana, the Little Rock Technology Park Authority offering Brent Birch the Tech Park Director position, developers considering the old Brandon House Furniture store site for a hotel and UAMS looking for a new dean. /more/
The realtor looking at possible sites downtown on Main Street where the Little Rock Technology Park might build or lease says two of the four clusters in the "technology corridor" have insufficient properties available to accommodate the park. /more/
“The Sum Of Many Parts: Quiltmakers In Contemporary America" features 15 quilts in a variety of styles that illustrate how modern artists interpret a traditional craft. It's at the Laman Library's Argenta branch.
The upcoming special session of the Arkansas General Assembly, the latest on the bid to overturn the state's voter ID law, a split emerging among Arkansas Supreme Court justices and the politics surrounding a proposal to build a Mapco on 3rd and Broadway in downtown Little Rock — all covered on this week's edition.
This is only statistical confirmation of what has been obvious since runoff election night, but full stats now show a heavy vote from black Mississippi voters who typically vote overwhelmingly for Democrats gave Republican Sen. Thad Cochran his winning margin over a Tea Party challenger.
The tween-pop Elvis is coming to Verizon for what is guaranteed to be the most frenzied concert Little Rock sees all year. Now, the Biebs has gotten more than his fair share of criticism since his astronomical ascent from YouTube scrubbery to international megafame, but we're not interested in calling out the omnipresent young pup for his fortunes, deserved or otherwise.
Last week, Rep. Josh Miller, a Republican legislator from Heber Springs, spoke against the private option Medicaid expansion last week. He invoked FDR's New Deal — a "hand up," he said, not a "handout."
Pam Hobbs, mother of Steve Branch, one of three eight-year-olds killed in the 1993 West Memphis slayings that became the West Memphis 3 case, says new information unearthed in a new documentary, "West of Memphis," has persuaded her to call for the state of Arkansas to reopen the case.