The Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods has joined the Downtown Little Rock Neighborhood Association (and many others) in opposing a Planning Commission-approved plan to put a Mapco convenience store and filling station at Third and Broadway.
Kathy Wells, president of the group, said the city planning staff, which opposed the idea, was right. It’s an unsuitable use for valuable property.
Broadway and Third is meant for better things, for more valuable development, for bringing people back to live, for serving the needs of government and commerce. Gas stations are the necessity to put on the edges, by the interstates, where travelers and commuters are. We have, in fact, vacant sites that could be redeveloped, notably Chester & Eighth St.
City directors and planners have adopted several formal policy guides to revitalize our city’s downtown business district, and it is most regrettable these have been so neglected, and that members of the Planning Commission are so ignorant of them, and failing to apply them to proposals before them.
Wells said city policy says downtown should be a place people want to live and visit “and should have a lasting and recognizable image, distinguishable from other nearby environments.”
Though the Mapco plan is being pushed by powerful real estate man Dickson Flake, I’ve been led to understand opposition is strong among city board members, who must approve the plan. Mayor Mark Stodola, who appointed the planning commissioners, needs to speak up, too.