At the request of member Dickson Flake, the Little Rock Technology Park Authority board has put on its agenda today a proposal to contract with Charles Dilks of Dilks Consulting Inc. for input on where the tech park should be built. The board will meet at 4 p.m. at the Willie Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center at 12th and Pine streets.
Dilks is the former president of the Association of University Research Parks and is retired from the Science Center research park in Philadelphia, where he worked for 35 years negotiating financing and development for buildings. He also created the property management company Research Park Inc. Dilks was a source on construction costs for the Angle Technology Group’s research park report commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce in 2009.
The need for a contract has not come up in board meetings to date. Civil engineering firm Crafton Tull has been engaged to do site evaluation (and will make a status report today). Flake characterized the contract as a “very small assignment” and said inviting competitive proposals would have been “impractical and unfeasible.” Flake will propose a maximum pay of $10,000 on the contract, including travel expenses.
I asked Flake about a couple of other things: Will the board have a public comment period? Flake said the board had not discussed that, but that there “probably needs something like that.” Will he disclose his financial interests, even though the legislation creating the Authority apparently does not require him to? He said he would “defer to others” on that, rather than putting his fellow directors “in an awkward position” by voluntarily disclosing.