|Updated: 9/12/2012 11:43 pm
||Published: 9/12/2012 7:33 pm
The Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board is now considering 23 different sites for the proposed Tech Park after public outcry over the 3 original locations threatened to displace people from their homes.
The 23 sites up for consideration are divided into 3 areas of Little Rock; West, East, and Midtown. The board identified the criteria to narrow their location down to 3 or 4 by the next meeting.
Homeowners in the original 3 proposed locations are still skeptical the board will move forward with any of the new sites. Rohn Muse lives in the Forest Hills neighborhood and says, "Nothing is new, nothings changed."
He and Daniel Hopwood own property in one of the original three neighborhoods considered for the Little Rock Tech Park. Hopwood says he doesn't have high hopes the board will pick a new site despite having 23 new locations to choose from. "Trust is not there for me. I'm hoping they'll pick one of the 23 sites. Surely they can find one that's suitable. I'm afraid they intend not to."
The criteria for site consideration are industrial or vacant, near UAMS, UALR, and Arkansas Children's Hospital, with minimal impact on residents, and cost effective. The sites will be evaluated by an engineering consulting firm, and the board plans to host multiple town hall meetings to get public input to whittle the 23 down to 3 or 4 by the next meeting in October.
Chairperson of the Board Mary Good says this is a major opportunity for the city of Little Rock. "We would very much like to be sure that the Tech Park is integrated into the academic industries in the city so students and faculty and start ups have an opportunity to thrive."
Muse is still fearful. "Do not use tax payers dollars to displace residents from their homes."
Hopwood doesn't want to lose his home. "I just want to get on with my life and see them pick a site. They have 23 sites to choose from. I'm sure they can find one besides my house. Just let me get on with my life."
Out of the 23 sites under consideration homeowners at the meeting seem to favor one site on the east side of Little Rock between 6th and 8th Streets. It's currently vacant and homeowners say having the Tech Park there would be a huge benefit to the neighborhood.
So far, no companies or businesses have expressed any interest yet in locating to the future Tech Park, but the board hopes if it's built then companies will come.