Bicyclist raises questions about NLR land sale UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bicyclist raises questions about NLR land sale UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 9:33 AM

QUARRY FOR SALE: Geology students work at site NLR plans to sell.
  • QUARRY FOR SALE: Geology students work at site NLR plans to sell.
The JBar Cycling blog has an interesting item today that I hope to check further.

He calls attention to a little discussed proposal on the North Little Rock City Council agenda Monday night to sell city-owned former quarry land along the River Trail below Emerald Park to Real Estate Commercial 1 Inc. (not further identified on the Council agenda) for $1.2 million.

JBar says the land will become a multiuse development. He's concerned that the plan for access to the property would close the River Trail to vehicular traffic.

While I'm not against center-city development, certainly preferring it to urban sprawl, I think most of us perceived this as valuable park space and once it is gone, it is gone forever. Take a look at the impasse at Dillard's on the other side of the river and we can see how giving up this narrow strip between the Big Rock and the river may have serious implications. I am not placated by a statement that says "well, the trail stays". Damn right. The River Trail is the very reason that this property has become valuable and I do not want to see it compromised. At first glance, the deal smells sneaky and I feel more than a little betrayed.

It appears that I'm waving a warning flag on something that is a done deal, but the lack of public discussion on this smells. I fear that the view from Emerald Park will become a view of rooftops and parking lots and that would be a sad legacy to the last days of Pat Hays's tenure.

I'll make some calls today. Anybody else have details?

UPDATE: I talked with Mayor Pat Hays and got a history lesson in the city's acquisition of the land years ago and a period when there was talking of building a performance space for music and other purposes. The limited access made its use for a mass attendance facility a non-starter he said.

Now, he said, he has a proposal to build 200 to 300 condos or apartments on the roughly 20 to 30 buildable acres there, with some light commercial uses and perhaps a marina on the river. North Little rock Realtor Byron McKimmey is leading the group, Hays said.

Hays said he was inclined to support the plan, but he noted the City Council was divided about developing the property at one time. He said there won't be a vote Monday and likely not at the next Council meeting either. "I want to run it up the flagpole," he said.

Hays emphasized that the river bike/hike trail was "sacrosanct." He said he wouldn't vote for any plant that put a vehicle or other crossing in the way of trail traffic. As a consequence, he said the investment group had drawn a plan to take the existing trail up several feet on existing topography and then use a bridge or other means to pass over a path between the development and the river. He said he'd told developers the trail not only couldn't be adversely affected, "it had to be improved." I'm trying to get a copy of the site plan.

River Road now deadends at the property. But work is underway now to close a portion of River Road and use a newly built extension of Third Street to reach that property.

City Commerce Director Joe Smith provided me with a presentation on the proposed Bluffs development, including the schematic drawings below of overpassing the bike trail.

underpass.JPG

Tags: , , ,


Favorite

Comments (20)

Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Beware of legislators bearing term limits

    Michael Wickline at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today reports on Sen. Alan Clark's grand plan to give Arkansas a different term limits amendment than the 10-year limit Arkansas Term Limits hopes to qualify for the 2020 ballot. Beware the fine print.
    • Mar 24, 2019
  • The open line, plus a food note

    Here's the open line, plus a neighborhood food note.
    • Mar 23, 2019
  • Little Rock prepares to commit to I-30 project, though its scope remains unclear

    Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott's take-charge approach surfaces this morning on a bigger issue than media policy — negotiations between the city and the Arkansas Department of Transportation on an agreement concerning the Big Concrete Ditch project through the heart of Little Rock.
    • Mar 23, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017

People who saved…

Slideshows

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The open line, plus a food note

    • absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. strategically, having the core of spanky's transgressions…

    • on March 24, 2019
  • Re: The open line, plus a food note

    • Well, better start hollering for Jesus because Barr has released a 4 page summary report…

    • on March 24, 2019
  • Re: Beware of legislators bearing term limits

    • The sneaky party pulled a big dirty trick the last time we had ethics reform…

    • on March 24, 2019
 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation