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Rock quarry to become lodging for Burns Park

The North Little Rock City Council Monday approved a resolution to allow the city’s parks and recreation commission to proceed toward attaining a land conversion for the Rock Quarry property in Burns Park for development as lodging.

The council adopted Resolution 2013-198 after the commission determined, “the necessity for a lodge to provide accommodation to many visitors, requiring nearby housing for recreational and athletic tournament events in the Burns Park area.”

The parks and recreation commission received approval to convert a parcel of land measuring 70-plus acres for use by the lodging.

“Pursuant to Resolution Number 8143, adopted on Sept. 10, 2012, the city created and established the North Little Rock Public Land Development Task Force to review, study and report upon the inventory of property owned by the city that would be suitable for economic development or should be utilized for park purposes,” states the resolution. “Upon completion of its land review, and recognizing public concerns for commercial uses of the Rock Quarry property, the Task Force recommended that the Rock Quarry property not be used for commercial development but rather as park land and green space.”

Appraisals have reflected that the 70-plus acres in Burns Park have a value of $925,000 and the Rock Quarry property has a value of $3.05 million, according to the resolution.

“The city has determined that it would be in the best interests of its citizens and residents that the Parks Commission commence proceedings with the U.S. National Park Service and Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to achieve a land conversion of certain Burns Park property for the Rock Quarry property.”

In a Sept. 27 letter from North Little Rock Parks and Recreation Director Bob Rhoades to Mayor Joe Smith and the City Council, he told officials converting the land would be a viable option.

“With it being near Burns Park and Emerald Park, it would be a potential land swap (conversion) for the Burns Park land,” Rhodes said.

The city’s parks and recreation commission approved pursuing such a land conversion at its May meeting.

“A recent appraisal has now been done, valuing the 50-acre Rock Quarry land at a value higher than the 70 acres of Burns Park land,” Rhodes said. “This makes conversion a viable option to seek state and National Park Service approval.”

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