Sunday morning coming down UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday morning coming down UPDATE

Posted By on Sun, May 20, 2012 at 8:09 AM

SMOKIN! Ruins of burned car at 8th and Washington.
  • SMOKIN'! Ruins of burned car at 8th and Washington.

The photo would have been far more dramatic had I had a camera when I passed this car about 5:50 a.m. on the Mills Freeway. It was "fully involved," as the firefighters say, with six-foot-high flames engulfing it. By the time I went home, got a camera and drove back, Little Rock firefighters had doused it and were heading back to the station house. Smoke was still rising from the incinerated, tireless remains. I was interested in following the smoke originally because the car sits in a neighborhood targeted for the Little Rock Technology Park. Then, the flames seemed to me to indicate a torch job. I wanted to be sure there wasn't significant cargo inside the burning car, like human remains. There wasn't. .....

... Well, one thing led to another on a quiet Sunday .... A drive through the neighborhood showed plenty of homes sporting Not For Sale signs ... The Central Arkansas Library System's children's library is making significant construction progress .... Need to ask Bobby Roberts what's the story on the handsome frame bungalow that was preserved and now sits behind the perimeter construction fence for the library. (SEE UPDATE BELOW AND PHOTOS) ....

... I parked in War Memorial Park for a 40-minute walking loop around the park ...

TAKE ME OUT: Time to raze derelict Ray Winder Field, with its weeds and a graveled outfield used for UAMS construction staging.
  • TAKE ME OUT: Time to raze derelict Ray Winder Field, with its weeds and a graveled outfield used for UAMS construction staging.

... Five and a half years after the last ball game, Ray Winder Field still sits decaying, its playing field a weed lot. The city and UAMS share responsibility. Can we expect similar stewardship in Technology Park neighborhoods? ....

... When did I miss the $2 charge to park a car in the open parking lots across from the Little Rock Zoo gate? ....

... People are pigs. The litter along roadways and in the park proper is disgusting. Mostly fast food leavings. ....

NO FISH STORY: There really are catfish in the pond at War Memorial Park.
  • NO FISH STORY: There really are catfish in the pond at War Memorial Park.
... There ARE fish in that pond at War Memorial. Two men were trying their luck at 6 a.m. One had a bucket with a pan-sized catfish wriggling at the bottom ...

... Walking pathways in the park have improved and the little loop where the Walker Tennis Center once stood draws early-morning walkers. Some walking links need improvement, such as along Monroe past the stadium parking lot and around the undeveloped, non-golf-course land west across Fair Park from the zoo, south of the main picnic area...

... The Zoo, starved for money all these years, could use a more finished look than you currently see walking around the perimeter. Maybe the new tax money will help. .... I'd have rather seen the city pour $22 million into the amenities that make a city aesthetically pleasing, such as great parks, than join the corporate welfare arms race. If you didn't read the excellent AP report in today's paper on the mutually destructive race by Kansas and Missouri to bounce businesses back and forth across a state line with escalating handouts, you should and here's a free link.


UPDATE: Library director Bobby Roberts fills me in on the house I noted by the library under construction (above). Very interesting. His note follows:

You had a question for me in your blog about the restored house just to the east of the children’s library behind the fence. That was a derelict structure with gaping holes in the roof and so much trash in it that we had to bring in a dumpster or two to clear it out. Once we could examine the house, everyone felt certain that the structure was basically sound and many of the original craftsman details were still intact. We restored it and one of our security guards from the Main Library is living in it. He will stay there after the children’s library opens so we have someone on site to watch the library property.

Just south of that house there are two vacant lots. I had hoped to save two more small houses and relocate them there. The plan was to buy & renovate the structures through our endowment and then rent them. ( That seems to me to be a better community investment with our private dollars than only purchasing stocks & bonds in some far away company. Of course we would have to make a fair rate of return on such a real estate investment). Anyway, the two houses were just beyond saving so we reluctantly took them down. (On the plus we did save a nice small stone garage which we will use for a tool shed . Also, we successfully moved & relocated a fine holly tree and several big crepe myrtles).

Once we near the end of the project I want to revisit the idea of having our endowment build the two rental houses. Since the taxpayers are investing about $12,000,000 in the new library we have serious interest in helping stabilize the neighborhood. I think a couple of nice rentals along with our house would help do that.

Hope this long-winded email helps.

NEW LIBRARY BRANCH: Work continues on the site on the south side of I-630, across from War Memorial Park. Jonesboro Drive is the western boundary.
  • NEW LIBRARY BRANCH: Work continues on the site on the south side of I-630, across from War Memorial Park. Jonesboro Drive is the western boundary.

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