The Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board whittled down the potential sites from 23 to 4.
The original three sites caused public outrage because the development of the Tech Park would have displaced people from their homes. The new proposed locations are mostly industrial, vacant lots, but homeowners are still worried their properties could be up for grabs.
One of the sites the Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board is considering is at the southeast corner of Asher and University. It's close to UALR, but a number of businesses would need to be acquired.
Another possible location is 701 Collins Street, between 6th and 8th Streets. This lot is close to the Clinton Presidential Center, but is small and some buildings would need to be demolished.
A third potential location is the current Verizon building in the Riverdale area. This site however, isn't close to any of the sponsoring institutions, Arkansas Children's Hospital, UAMS, or UALR, and proximity to those research institutions is one of the priorities the Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board has identified.
The fourth possibility is a wooded area off John Barrow Road. The lot is large, undeveloped, but is also one of the more expensive properties.
Homeowners say they're still worried the board won't pick one of the 4 new options. Rohn Muse says he can't rest assured until all the contracts are signed and the ground is broken on a site other than a residential area.
Daniel Hopwood says he believes the whole selection process is a farce. "I think they've wanted the Forest Hills neighborhood from the beginning."
The Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board is trying to convince homeowners the current four sites are the only ones up for consideration. Board member Jay Chesshir says the goal is to find a site most favorable for the current research institutions with minimal impact on homeowners. "This is about creating great jobs and keeping not only the best and brightest we have here, but also attracting those from other states to come and be proud Arkansans."
The four potential sites still need additional evaluation by the engineering consulting firm. According to the engineering consulting firm, every site has a number of unfavorable characteristics. The firm recommends moving forward with any of the 4 sites with caution, making sure there isn't another site that would be better.
The Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board is holding town hall meetings to get public input before making a final decision.
The first public meeting is being held Tuesday, October 23rd from 7:30-9:00pm at UALR's Engineering & Information Technology Building, Room #203.
The second public meeting is Wednesday, October 24th from 5:00-6:30pm at the Jack Stephens Center, Legends Room.
The Neighborhood Housing Committee will hold a meeting Monday, October 29th from 6:00-7:00pm at UALR's Bailey Alumni Center, Engel Hall.