Criteria confusion 

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority released Tuesday a summary of the criteria it wants alternative park sites to meet, and it does not mention a five-minute drive time requirement that the Authority board has said was crucial to success.

However, the summary is only a "cover sheet" and not the full criteria, Authority board chair Dr. Mary Good said later in the day Tuesday. Good said the full criteria would be released this week.

Because of the five-minute drive time, the board had considered only residential areas between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Neighborhood opposition stirred the City Board to demand the Authority board — which is independent of the city but needs $22 million from a city sales tax to build — look elsewhere.

In correcting the press release, Good said that what has been posted on the park website, lrtechpark.com, is a "cover sheet" and criteria are still be developed.

The summary asks for the property owner's name, a legal description, topology maps, description of utilities, aerial map, neighborhood map, transportation available, surrounding amenities and acquisition cost. The deadline for proposals is Aug. 31. Criteria were drawn up by board members Dickson Flake and Dr. Michael Douglas and reviewed by consultant Charles Dilks.

Good said that Flake, who is a commercial real estate broker, will contact other brokers in Central Arkansas to let them know of the board's interest in looking at other sites, a move the release called "proactive." That word is key because UAMS and the city of Little Rock, two sponsors for the park, have withheld $25,000 installments due toward their $250,000 pledges to emphasize that the Authority board should more actively participate in looking for alternate sites.

The neighborhoods, in Forest Hills and Oak Forest, "are not now being considered," the news release said, but it added that a study it commissioned from Crafton Tull engineers on the three 30- to 60-acre sites "will be of use for whatever site is ultimately chosen." The board is to discuss aesthetic and building issues recommended by the report at its Aug. 15 meeting.

The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce point person to handle tech park releases could not produce a copy of the Crafton Tull report, presented in June to the board, on Monday. In theory, this report will be posted to the park website.



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