LITTLE ROCK Representatives from three proposed sites for a new Little Rock technology park were presented to the Technology Park Authority Board and the standing-room-only crowd of around 100 people in a Wednesday afternoon meeting.
The meeting, held at UALR's Bailey Alumni Center at Engel Hall, featured consultants' reports on the proposed sites. Those sites include 701 Collins Street, a location at the southeast corner of Asher and University avenues and another location between 1911 and 2225 John Barrow Road.
Rett Tucker, the lead speaker for the Collins Street site, cited the area's proximity to various businesses as an advantage of its selection. From the proposed site on Asher and University, the question arose about the wetlands surrounding the area — specifically whether flooding would be a major issue. Officials from the site brought in hydrologist Dennis E. Ford, who ultimately stated that the flooding threat could be minimized.
Pam Brown-Courtney spoke on behalf of the site on John Barrow Road, providing information on how the site can handle the necessary one million square feet for the park. Vice Mayor Doris Wright and engineer Pat McGetrick represented the site as well. Brown-Courtney also cited the park's proximity to Baptist Hospital.
The matter of funding was already decided with the passing of the 3/8 percent sales-tax increase in 2011 that will create $22 million for the development of the park. While board member C.J. Duvall brought up the possibility of private investors contributing to the project, he also noted that investor involvement would likely vary depending on the site that is chosen.
The board set another meeting for March to further discuss the sites.
Read more about this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.