Jacksonville Council condemns state Rep. Donnie Copeland's apartments | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 21, 2016

Jacksonville Council condemns state Rep. Donnie Copeland's apartments

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 12:50 PM

click to enlarge DO"NNIE COPELAND: Legislator's apartments condemned in Jacksonville.
  • DO"NNIE COPELAND: Legislator's apartments condemned in Jacksonville.
The Arkansas Leader reports that the Jacksonville City Council has voted to condemn an apartment project owned by state Rep. Donnie Copeland of North Little Rock, a Pentecostal preacher who recently lost a primary race for state Senate.

Copeland has 30 days to demolish the apartments or bring them up to code. The issue has been pending since at least October and city officials said nothing had been done. City officials say they amount to a blight on a nearby park used for baseball tournaments.

Copeland spoke to the council and said he'd hoped for  more time to get an engineering assessment.

He also said, “I have no desire to be a slum lord. I have no desire to have something that is unsightly to Dupree Park or the neighborhood. I will add that we couldn’t even go in the backyard of the property this past week because the neighbor has four pit bulls that are on itty bitty ropes and they’re constantly jumping at you.”

Copeland continued, “We want the same thing. We want a first-class, quality property. It’s looking like that property is probably going to need to come down and be leveled and something nice put in its place. But I would like to get the structural engineer’s full report before we move forward.”

Traylor asked whether Copeland offered, at the meeting months ago, to come back to the council, and the state representative said he had.

The alderman also said, “So you did know you were supposed to have already taken care of this?” Copeland answered, “Yes, sir.”

Traylor noted, “But you don’t have anything, other than something you got Sunday, three days before the meeting.”

Copeland said he needed a loan to improve the property and getting the condemnation cleared up was like “the chicken or the egg” argument.

He added that he had hoped to have more done, but had difficulty getting people to look at the building, and said he wanted an educated opinion on whether it should be razed because the previous owner is not a structural engineer. Copeland also said the property was in bad shape before he owned it. 
UPDATE: Copeland sent a message by Twitter that "it was probable" the apartments would be torn down.

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