At a special council meeting Monday night, Conway City Council voted to support a Jump Start Grant Application and to approve the voluntary acquisition of the land at 1110 Spencer Street.
The meeting was called Monday morning because the Sept. 17 meeting had been canceled and the deadline to apply for the grant is Sept. 20.
The two votes worked hand in hand to continue the efforts to revitalize the Markham Street Corridor.
The property at 1110 Spencer Street is owned by the Estate and Trust of Rosa M. West and houses the Conway Scrap Metal business. The business has decided to relocate to a piece of land that can better serve its growing customer base.
John Jordan from Legacy Realty, Inc. represented the family in the transaction and said the deal was a win/win for the business and the city. He also said the timing of the deal works out for the business to relocate without missing a beat.
“The business is never going to stop,” he said. “Conway Scrap Metal has been in business for 40 years and plans to be in business for the next 40 years.”
Council voted to approve the voluntary acquisition at $315,000 to be paid in a minimum of three equal installments — one in 2013 and two in 2014. The first payment will be $105,000 and will come from the General Fund — Fund Balance Appropriation Account. The other payments could come from other accounts, which will be decided at a later date.
Concerning site contamination concerns, Scott Grummer, community development program manager with the city, said the city is trying to get the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to give them estimates on the remediation process after the scrap yard is moved.
“ADEQ thought they could get that done but they cannot with the site as it is,” he said. “Best case scenario: We get it cleared, we get grid sampling, get our cost estimates and go for the ground fill grant in 2014 with the cleanup starting in 2015. Worst case scenario: If costs come in higher or funding doesn’t come through with the EPA, at least we get the site cleared and it’s ready for the rest of the neighborhood to move forward.”
The purchase of the land plays into the plans to redevelop the Markham Street area. At the meeting Monday, the city council voted to move forward and apply for a Jump Start Grant through Metroplan and the Imagine Central Arkansas Partners. If awarded, the city would receive up to $180,000 in planning services to help refine plans for the Markham Street Corridor.
In addition to redevelopment, the acquisition of the land at 1110 Spencer Street will aid in solving some of the downtown flooding issues that currently plague the city. The planning department has drawn up ideas to make that land into a dual-purpose park and retention area to help stop some flooding downtown.
(Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1212. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)