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North Little Rock | City sells property for new boat ramp

The North Little Rock City Council on Monday was advised by Mayor Joe Smith that the city has received $390,000 from former city property sold on River Road for the construction of a boat ramp by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Smith told the council that the previously approved city-owned property has closed.

Smith proposed different ways to spend the boat ramp proceeds to aldermen in a June 16 letter.

“I propose, and would appreciate your support in, the allocation of those proceeds as outlined below,” said Smith.

Smith wants to take $70,000 of the proceeds to provide the Central Arkansas Transportation Authority (CATA) as CATA moves forward with plans to build its own CNG station/complex.

“The $70,000 is our share and we were going to have to find it from somewhere,” said Nathan Hamilton, director of communications for the mayor’s office.

In his letter, Smith told aldermen that they had approved this expenditure and that the funds were intended to be taken from the proceeds of the sale of the warehouse on East Broadway Street.

“As you know, that transaction was altered by dedicating $70,000 to the Downtown Square,” Smith said. “This $70,000 will replace that.”

The mayor also wants to take $50,000 to use towards the purpose of property for the State Veterans Home that is to be constructed near Fort Roots.

“North Little Rock was fortunate to be selected as the site for a new State Veterans’ Home,” Smith said. “The purchase of approximately one acre of land on the west side of the Fort Roots property is needed to provide access to the property and utilities. The city has provided no other incentive for this project.”

Smith also wants to use $70,000 to provide improvements to the River Road development.

“The closed portion of River Road that is now part of the River Trails will be improved to encourage development,” Smith said. “The old roadway will be reduced in width to make it look like a trail instead of an abandoned street and decorative lighting and will be added. This will encourage additional private investment that will play a significant role in the reutilization of the Baring Cross neighborhood.”

Smith said he also would like to use a portion to provide better compensation to city employees.

“Our employees have not received a raise in quite some time,” Smith said. “Due to our budget constraints, I do not anticipate one any time in the near future. I would like to give a one-time Holiday bonus, payable on Dec. 1, 2014, in the amount of $500 each for all non-uniform employees who are maxed with their step-grade raises.”

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