Pulaski Tech's need for growth money | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pulaski Tech's need for growth money

Posted By on Sat, Nov 19, 2011 at 7:00 AM

SITE FOR CULINARY SCHOOL: Parking lot at Sixth and Main.
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  • SITE FOR CULINARY SCHOOL: Parking lot at Sixth and Main.

There were further details in today's Democrat-Gazette about a subject we raised several weeks ago, Pulaski Tech's plans to seek a property tax to help support the exploding two-year college's growth.

It's hard not to be sympathetic to Tech's needs if you'ever visited any of their multiple campuses. They hum day and night with students seeking tools for the job market or preparation for higher education. I attend scholarship events there occasionally and it'll bring you to tears to hear how a little help can go so far (a stipend for a health care assistant's uniform, for example) in making a difference for people, many with families, trying to better themselves.

I was interested to read of Little Rock's emergence, with its new sales tax wealth, with a proposal to buy a parking lot downtown (from whom, for how much?) to encourage Pulaski Tech to locate its culinary school at Sixth and Main rather than use land it already owns for expansion in Southwest Little Rock. (Don't recall this on the sales tax expenditure agenda. Perhaps this is slush fund money, though it's hard to see how moving a public school from one part of the city to another counts as economic development.)

Still, putting people downtown is a good thing, even if not necessarily the most cost-effective on the front end. Thanks, too, to tycoon Warren Stephens, a major owner of multiple parcels of Main Street property that would get a valuation boost from this taxpayer investment, for offering a 35 percent markdown on kitchen appliances, presumably from his Viking manufacturing company, to sweeten the city's tax-paid land deal. That's a public-private partnership for you, Little Rock style.

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