Update: Easter Seal land deal | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Update: Easter Seal land deal

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2006 at 11:54 AM

UPDATE on the proposal to buy the old Easter Seals facility and 10 acres at the east end of Lee Avenue from the state School for the Blind and School for the Deaf:

 A straw vote taken by the schools' board Tuesday indicates the proposal is a no-go. They acted after a resident of Hillcrest spoke against the sale, expressing concerns that once the property was in private ownership, it could be developed, despite promises by the would-be buyers that they would not alter the property.

Drs. Leslie Smith and Tad Tillemans, psychiatrists who lease office space in the former Easter Seals facility, wanted to buy the 10 acres and the building for $700,000. Easter Seals head Sharon Moone-Jochums presented the offer to the board; her agency is eager to sell the building, which is outdated and in need of repairs. (Easter Seals only owns the building; it leases the state land beneath it.) Moone-Jochums maintained the land was too steep to develop, but a previous (unsuccessful) bid by a Hillcrest developer would have built condos in the ravine.

President Andrew Tolbert said the board, which voted 4 against, with one abstention from a new member, does not want the schools to lose control of the property. “It’s a critical buffer,” he said. The land is bordered by the Coolwood neighborhood on the north and homes near Knoop Park on the west.

Smith and Tillemans’ Aavalon Clinic is a joint venture with Aavalon Mortgage, which also operates out of the former Easter Seals facility. Tolbert said the board was unaware of the mortgage business.



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