The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas has been informed by Magellan Midstream Partners of Tulsa that its Fort Smith-to-Little Rock pipeline project is planned to bisect about 450 acres the foundation owns at the northeast corner of the I-40/I-440 interchange in North Little Rock.
Jim Argue, president, said the foundation, real estate appraisers and its lawyers are in a “fact-find/discussion phase.” Magellan has informed the foundation that its route, which cuts the property diagonally in a southwesterly direction, was drawn to avoid a wetland. Magellan will have to get permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers where the pipeline crosses navigable rivers, wetlands and streams, to proceed. The foundation, which would prefer a route along its property line, has asked to meet with the Corps.
Argue fears the property — once under consideration as a new home for the Arkansas State Fair until a sales tax in North Little Rock to acquire the land failed — will decline in value if there is a pipeline beneath it, thus diminishing a church asset. “It’s a natural way for North Little Rock to expand easterly,” he said, either for commercial or residential use.
Cynthia Blansett is the project manager for the regulatory division of the Corps’ Little Rock district, which is the lead district handling the Magellan permits. The route also involves Memphis and Vicksburg district jurisdictions. Blansett said the Corps had not yet received a complete application but has worked with Magellan on route revises.
The land was donated to the foundation 50 years ago. Magellan “told us right off the bat they had eminent domain,” Argue said. “I was in the legislature for 18 years and didn’t know that.” Argue served in the both the state Senate and the House.