The Little Rock Board of Directors voted Tuesday to allow the city to take out a short-term loan to pay for park improvements, a new fire truck, mobile radios for the police department and more. The city will seek $5.9 million in financing.
The money will allow the city to…
*Rebuild the basketball courts under Interstate 630 in Kanis Park and make other improvements to the park.
*Build a new playground and install new walkways and lighting at MacArthur Park.
*Reconstruct part of Interstate Park Drive.
*Purchase a new fire truck.
*Purchase mobile radios for the Little Rock Police Department.
*Purchase property for the potential future expansion of the West Central Community Center.
The city can use short-term financing to fund certain projects thanks to Amendment 78 of the Arkansas Constitution.
At-large Director Joan Adcock and Vice-Mayor and Ward 5 Director Lance Hines asked City Manager Bruce Moore why the city was seeking a loan when it has $18 million from American Rescue Plan in the bank.
Moore said that the city could potentially spend federal relief dollars on some of the items, but said, “We felt like we should move forward now.” Each board member has submitted ideas for how the American Rescue Plan money should be spent, but none of the items covered under the short-term note were among board members’ suggestions, Moore said. The board will discuss spending the federal money later in July.
The board also approved the creation of a temporary entertainment district along Third Street near the River Market, where patrons wearing wristbands can take alcoholic drinks purchased from businesses within the district onto sidewalks and streets. The district will be open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. through October 6. The board had deferred consideration of the resolution that established the district for several weeks because of concerns about crime.
Here’s how the resolution describes the boundaries:
The Third Street Temporary Entertainment District boundaries are particularly described from the intersection of East 2nd Street and River Market Avenue to include the right-of-way, south to East 3rd Street; and the boundary of the intersection of East 3rd Street and River Market Avenue, continuing south on River Market Avenue to East 4th Street , continuing west on East 4th Street to Cumberland Street, continuing north on Cumberland Street to East 3rd Street, continuing to East 3rd Street to the intersection of East 3rd Street and River Market Avenue.
The board also approved the extension of an entertainment district in Hillcrest for its First Thursday events through October. The events run from 4-9 p.m.