The Little Rock City Board will reconvene last week’s meeting Tuesday and on the agenda again is a proposed ordinance to ban on-street solicitations of money as a safety hazard. Enough members weren’t present last week to suspend the rules for immediate consideration.
The idea has been widely praised because of a proliferation of sometimes dubious money-seekers at busy intersections, but also some opposition, particularly from those who support an annual solicitation by firefighters for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. City Attorney Tom Carpenter has said he hadn’t yet figured a way to deter solicitations by some but not others.
The meeting Tuesday also will set the agenda for the July 21 meeting. Bikers following the tortured progress of efforts to complete the River Trail on the “gap” along Cantrell Road will note with interest an item to approve almost a $1 million contract to build a portion of the “bike connector,” this part near the bridge on North Cantrell Road and Gill Street and the old Cantrell Marine Property next to the Arkansas River.
And speaking of bicycles: That agenda also includes changes to the master street plan to include bike paths in a number of streets and some new bike paths along creek or railroad paths. These are the product of a series of public hearings. Streets affected include a number downtown, including Main, Louisiana and Center. The link has all the details.
Note some new bicycle-only routes:
New proposed Class I – Bike Paths are suggested along two creeks and a railroad right-of-way. (These routes are separate bicycle only facilities.) There are three segments proposed. The longest is along the former railroad right-of-way from Interstate Park around the State Fair grounds to 7th Street where the existing proposed Bike Path is shown. This is part of a multi-county bike path that has been proposed from Little Rock to Hot Springs (the ‘Southwest Trail’). ….. A second segment would continue along Rose Creek from 3rd Street (where the existing proposed Path ends) to the River Trail. … The remaining new Bike Route is along Coleman Creek from 20th Street (where a proposed Bike Route ends from UALR) to Lee Avenue in Hillcrest. This proposal would make a north –south connection from Hillcrest to the Fourche Bottoms via the UALR campus. …
The agenda also includes a $6.3 million appropriation of accumulated sales tax money to give to the Little Rock Technology Park Authority to begin buying downtown property for the tech park project. The plan is to borrow money to pay for the rest of the cost with hoped-for rent revenues to retire the debt. It’s a milestone: Municipal government getting into the real estate business and borrowing money to do it in a downtown where private developers haven’t always found the path smooth.