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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Richardson loses again on tech park ordinance

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 9:58 PM

City Director Ken Richardson's ordinance to prohibit capital improvement sales tax dollars to be transferred to the Little Rock Technology Park Authority to buy homes through the power of eminent domain once again failed to get the approval of the board tonight.

Directors Brad Cazort, Joan Adcock and Dean Kumpuris insisted it wasn't needed, Cazort because it will be a long time before enough money has been accumulated to meet the $22 million commitment to the park, Adcock because she's dead certain the three neighborhoods once considered for the park are "off the table" and Kumpuris because he believes the ordinance could tie the city's hands in future eminent domain requests.

Richardson asked if everyone was so certain that the neighborhoods — south of Interstate 630 on residential property between UALR and UAMS — were safe why was there an objection to the ordinance. He said he was suffering from "cognitive dissonance" since the ordinance is specific to the tech park and the pot of money it addresses, proceeds from last year's increase in sales tax.

Directors Irma Erma Hendrix and B.J. Wyrick voted with Richardson; the remaining seven said nay.

The vote came after Judge Wendell Griffen addressed the board in favor of the ordinance, his concern prompted by the recent letter by tech park consultant Charles Dilks that said none of the commercial areas now under consideration met what he believes is the most important consideration: Proximity to the hospital and university.

Richardson's ordinance is No. 21 on the Board agenda. It's now 10:15 and directors are listening to a thrilling update on Little Rock Wastewater sewer line replacement program.

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