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Argenta Plaza's first "big event" will be Nov. 30, kicking off North Little Rock's newest downtown attraction in time for the Christmas season, according to a city official.

The city-sponsored Northern Lights Festival will open that Saturday, featuring the lighting of North Little Rock's new 38-foot-tall Christmas tree, Bob Major, chief executive officer for the North Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, said during a city Advertising and Promotion Commission meeting last week.

The city's Christmas parade will follow the next day, Dec. 1, Major said. The parade starts at Pershing Boulevard and follows Main Street into downtown.

The Christmas parade, held annually on the first Sunday in December, is sponsored by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, city government and the North Little Rock Sertoma Club.

The $5.365 million Argenta Plaza city project at 510 Main St. -- to feature jetted fountains with LED-lighted streams of water, a 50-foot-long cascading water wall and a 40-foot-tall video screen -- is being billed by city officials as a gathering place for downtown residents, workers and visitors.

City looks at $25 fee on hot checks

Anyone who writes a hot check to any city department will now be assessed a $25 fee for each returned check, according to an ordinance the North Little Rock City Council is to consider at its 6 p.m. meeting Monday.

Checks returned for insufficient funds paid to the city for taxes, fees, fines and city services results in administrative costs for staff members to attempt to collect on the bad checks, the legislation says.

"This will pay for the time and trouble to go back after them and try to get the money owed," city Finance Director Karen Scott said of the proposed fee.

City Parks and Recreation, the North Little Rock Electric Department, and the city Advertising and Promotion Commission already charge fees for checks returned for insufficient funds, but other city departments -- including the clerk-treasurer's office -- don't currently charge for checks that are returned, according to City Clerk-Treasurer Diane Whitbey.

Council to receive vision for building

A presentation of a possible redevelopment of the City Services Building property will be shown to the North Little Rock City Council at 5:30 p.m. Monday, ahead of the council's regular meeting at 6 p.m.

Jimmy Moses of Newmark Moses Tucker Partners is to make the presentation. North Little Rock has an executive listing agreement with the real estate company to market and sell about 5 acres of city property downtown.

The sites include the three-story City Services Building at 120 Main St., that houses city Planning, Finance, Human Resources and Customer Services, among other departments, and the city attorney's offices at 116 Main St., across an alleyway from City Services. Three city employee parking lots are also involved.

Council members approved the real estate agreement in February, with no specific plan being outlined.

Mayor Joe Smith said last week that the presentation is to show renderings of the "vision" that Moses and the company have for the site. He said there isn't yet a potential buyer for the properties.

Chambers to get equipment update

Work will begin Tuesday on installing new audio-visual equipment in the City Council chambers that will enhance local TV and Facebook streaming capabilities of city government meetings.

Jay S. Stanley & Associates Inc. of North Little Rock submitted the low bid of $127,717. The City Council had approved up to $150,000 for replacing the 14-year-old audio-visual system.

The updated broadcast equipment will include the audio system, new cameras, camera switchers and projectors, city Communications Director Nathan Hamilton said. The television at the back of the room, which allows council members to see what is displayed, is also being replaced with a bigger screen, he said.

"Our ability to switch from one camera to another has not been working for about six months," Hamilton said. "We've tried to be as efficient as possible, but, at that point, we knew it was time to upgrade the technology."

Because there is a fifth Monday this month, there will be three weeks between council meetings for the work to be completed. The City Council's next regular meeting will be May 13.

Metro on 04/21/2019

Print Headline: North Little Rock notebook


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