The We Shall Not Be Moved coalition that is fighting, in the court of public opinion, the Little Rock Technology Park Authority plans to erase one of three proposed neighborhoods, has come up with a list of 23 alternate non-residential sites for the park. There are a few oddballs on the list (the lawn of the Blind and Deaf schools, “unused area near Cammack Village”), but several make sense and one of them makes a lot of sense — the empty Alltel offices by the Arkansas River, which are wired and ready to go. Even UAMS likes that area — or at least Chancellor Dan Rahn does, he told the Times last week; he said they’d be a nice place to work, down on the river and all. (The WSNBM list is on the jump.)
The coalition does not include anyone from the Methodist Children’s Home, but that doesn’t mean the organization owning the 27.7-acre campus, where 140 people in Methodist Family Health’s programs reside and where 187 employees work, is eager to give up its 16 buildings and move elsewhere. The Methodist Children’s Home is on the hilliest site among the three alternatives, which might be more expensive to develop, but is one in which fewer homes would have to be cleared. Despite its inclusion in the three sites on the table, the organization is forging ahead with long-time plans to put up an expensive iron and brick fence (in the style of UALR’s) on the property boundaries.
Dr. Rita Galloway, the executive director of the Arkansas Cares program on the campus, which adjoins the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said yesterday she appreciates the non-institutional, tranquil feel of the Children’s Home property, with its small residential facilities, playgrounds for the children of clients and mature trees.
Tech Park Authority member Dr. Mary Good was until recently on the board of directors of the Methodist Family Health Foundation, but resigned to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. (Full disclosure: Also on the foundation board is Times‘ editor Lindsey Millar’s father, Michael Millar of Searcy.)’
The WSNBM group will rally at the intersection of 12th Street and Jonesboro Drive between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. tomorrow and then pass out fliers in the targeted neighborhoods. The coalition will tour some of the alternate sites it proposes on Saturday, June 16.