U.A.L.R. says Tech Park would be best near campus

    10:46 PM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Planners told THV 11 that there are currently three proposed sites for the Little Rock Technology Park. One of those sites take up part of the U.A.L.R. campus as well as some of the neighborhood around it.

    Tuesday morning U.A.L.R. Chancellor Joel Anderson gave his report to the school's Board of Visitors who endorsed the university's proposal to put the tech park next to campus.

    "The primary advantage is simply close proximity to the formidable resources of a research university," said Anderson. "The closer your entrepreneurs and your faculty and students are together, the more productive, the more fruitful the relationship can be."

    The school owns more than half of the 21-acre proposed site which includes 56 residential properties. Twenty-nine of those are used as rentals, and only nine are occupied by actual homeowners themselves.

    "I have no problem with it being here," said U.A.L.R. neighbor Troy Carpenter. "If we don't go for it, I think we'll be disappointed."

    Carpenter has owned his house in the proposed tech park site for five years and said he likes living close to downtown because he works on a handful of projects there for Matt Foster Construction. He also believes he would be willing to move if it meant the tech park moving into the neighborhood.

    "Out of the places that I've seen that it's been prospected to, this would probably be one of the best places for it to be," said Carpenter. "People have to make sacrifices and certain sacrifices may upset other people, but in the long run, I think it's going to be a great opportunity for our city to have this tech school here."

    Not everyone likes the idea of the tech park going into the neighborhood. One man told THV 11 his house has been in his family since the Korean War and that he has no interest in moving.

    "You can have a major public project in the middle of a city, in the middle of an area where it's necessary to acquire property," said Anderson. "But you can do that in a way that's reasonable and acceptable and fair to people and have a very good result... It's not a slam dunk, it won't happen overnight, and it won't happen easily so we would like to see a sight chosen that gives as many advantages in the development of the Tech Park as possible, and that's why we were willing to sacrifice what we have available here."

    When Anderson talks about sacrifice he's referring to the fact that part of the proposed site includes land that the university was planning to use to expand its own campus. He thinks, however, that building the tech park next to campus would benefit both the community and U.A.L.R.

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