Favorite

University Mall replaced? 

Little Rock City Director Stacy Hurst told the Arkansas Times that Simon Properties showed city officials preliminary sketches of three different scenarios for replacing University Mall in Midtown.

All three possibilities involve eliminating the mall structure entirely, and all include some combination of retail and residential space and medical offices. But the plans are in limbo pending the resolution of a lawsuit filed against Simon by the University Mall property owners, who accuse Simon of mismanaging the mall.

Hurst joined Mayor Jim Dailey and City Manager Bruce Moore in an Aug. 14 meeting with Simon executives at the company’s Indianapolis offices.

The Little Rock delegation also asked what happened to the $25,000 that Simon committed to help pay for a Midtown development study several years ago.

“They absolutely said yes, we will send it to you,” Hurst said. “They said they would remit it immediately.”

Hurst added that the city government is getting involved because University Mall is “an important property.”

“We feel we need to be more pro-active in what happens there,” Hurst said.


New sewer stink

Although the Little Rock Planning Commission has approved a permit for the construction of a new sewage treatment plant near Pinnacle Mountain, controversy over the plant continues. Gene Pfeiffer, who sold the property for the plant to the city Wastewater Utility, is appealing the Planning Commission’s decision to the city Board of Directors, and a former employee of the utility says that it’s not following through on an implied promise to build a “state of the art” plant, using a new “membrane” technology. Reggie Corbitt, chief executive officer of the utility, says that the new plant will be state of the art. Although it will use the same treatment method as the utility’s existing plants, the new plant will have features those plants don’t, such as odor control and better noise control, he said.

Mike Fuller, former director of capital improvements for the utility, said that he had publicly advocated the membrane plant and resigned from the utility in March after it became apparent that the utility would not build such a plant. He agreed that the utility didn’t say directly that it would build a membrane plant, but said it had intimated that the new plant would be state of the art. Corbitt said the issue might be how one interprets “state of the art.” The Random House dictionary says the phrase means “the latest and most sophisticated or advanced stage of a technology, art or science.” Attempts to reach Pfeiffer to ask why he’s appealing the Planning Commission decision were unsuccessful. He still owns property surrounding the site of the proposed plant, and plans to develop it, according to Fuller. A public hearing on the sewage plant is expected to be held Oct. 3.


Union carpenters sore

The executive secretary/treasurer of the Arkansas Regional Council of Carpenters is upset because, he says, not a single union carpenter is employed at the new Dickey-Stephens baseball stadium under construction in North Little Rock. For that matter, no union member from any craft is working on the ballpark, he said. “We [carpenters] worked hard to get the tax passed for the ballpark,” Dennis Donahou said. “Not just because we hoped to get jobs, but because we thought it was good for the city. But all the carpenter jobs are going to out-of-state workers.” He said he took pictures at the site one day and found 17 out-of-state license plates. Many of these out-of-state workers are Hispanic, he said.

Bob East is chief executive officer of East-Harding, construction manager for the project along with Hensel Phelps Construction Co., a national firm. Donahou said that Hensel Phelps was one of the companies that wouldn’t hire union carpenters. East said Hensel Phelps brought some workers with them from Texas. He can’t compel non-union contractors to hire union labor, he said, and the real problem at the ballpark is that no union contractors bid on the job, for various reasons. (A union contractor enters a long-term agreement to use union labor on all his jobs. In Arkansas, non-union contractors far outnumber union contractors.) But non-union contractors can hire union workers if they choose, and it would cost no more to use union labor on the ballpark, Donahou said, because the ballpark is a public project, covered by “prevailing wage” laws. That means all workers, union and non-union, must be paid the prevailing wage in the area for their particular craft. East said it was “absolutely not true” that most of the workers at the ballpark are from out of state.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • Conspiracy theorists

    Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote.
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.
  • That modern mercantile: The bARn

    The bARn Mercantile — "the general store for the not so general," its slogan says — will open in the space formerly occupied by Ten Thousand Villages at 301A President Clinton Ave.

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Event Calendar

« »

May

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Court feud

    Jerry Jones and ethics, low employment and more.
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation