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Arkansawyer

Dickey-Stephens Park

Should a new stadium be constructed in War Memorial Park or by the Broadyway Bridge in North Little Rock's downtown?  

44 members have voted

  1. 1. Should a new stadium be constructed in War Memorial Park or by the Broadyway Bridge in North Little Rock's downtown?

    • Downtown (NLR)
      35
    • Midtown (LR)
      9


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With the battle between Little Rock and North Little Rock for a new ballpark heating up, it's time for a poll.

A brief rundown of the situation is that Major League Baseball has issued an ultimatum to Bill Valentine, General Manager of the Arkansas Travelers, that the organization must play in a facility that is up to its standards, or lose the franchise. I don't know exactly what the standards are, other than it would require several million dollars to meet them by upgrading Ray Winder Field, which aren't there. The movement to upgrade the facility appears to be losing steam, and losing the franchise is no idle threat. Shreveport just lost its franchise in 2003. As Valentine has said, the deadline for an upgrade passed a long time ago, and I believe that the most recent deadline was the 2007 season.

Now it appears that the construction of a new ballpark is the direction that will be taken. With the current lack of funding for the North Little Rock site (land east of the Broadway Bridge on the banks of the Arkansas River, which was donated by Warren Stephens), a battle has begun anew between the two cities. A few days ago, NLR Mayor Hays proposed a two year one percent city sales tax that would raise approximately $32 million dollars. The next day Little Rock leaders countered that it would be better to construct the new facility in War Memorial Park, the current location of Ray Winder. They argue that it will spur private development in an area of town that needs a boost.

I am torn on the issue, but my vote goes to the NLR site. I really would love to see new life injected into midtown, but ultimately I believe that a downtown ballpark would have more of a positive impact, especially with the already proposed private development on the land donated by Stephens. That location is ripe for development, and the question should also consider what is best for the ballpark in addtion to what's best for an area of town. A downtown park would offer awesome views of Little Rock's skyline to boot.

Arkansas Travelers website

Proposed ballpark in NLR:

2004_10-20_14-49-22-564.jpg

Ray Winder Field:

TravsStadium41.jpg

Travelers logo:

ar1.gif

Alternate Travelers logo, featuring Gen. Robert E. Lee on his horse, Traveler:

ArkansasTravelers_AltLogo.jpg

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I'm pulling for NLR to get the park. I'd hate to think the GLR area is a lop-sided metro. I'd also like to see the skyline expand to the other side of the river. According to Warren Stevens' plans, it would!

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i've never been to little rock so i could'nt say where i would put it. our baseball team threatened to move a few years ago so we ended up building them a new one. we built it in bricktown that's right near downtown, and there has been major, major development in that area. its paid off big for us, and i'm sure it will for you too. good luck. :)

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Downtown, of course. Yes, I would love to see the skyline extend across the river too. I drool at the thought of flying into Little Rock, and seeing a skyling surrounding a very large and nice sized river. Imagine all the possibilities. So many cities lack the natural beauty of our LR; we've really got to use it to our advantage. Build that park downtown, and merge the two cities!

Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like if the river was wider. If it was wider, there would be much more of a "distant" feel between the two sides, like there is between Memphis and West Memphis. A River Rail trolley that spans the two sides would be pretty much useless (imagine if a trolley crossed the New Orleans portion of the MS river.....it would take ages).

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A deal between the Travelers and North Little Rock has been reached! Here is the link to the article in Arkansas Business.

Some interesting tidbits from the article:

-The stadium should be ready for the 2007 season.

-The general manager of the LA Angels of Anaheim, as well as the president of the Texas League, attended the announcement.

-The architectural firm chosen also designed such facilities as the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas, and Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wis.

-The site was also considered for Alltel Arena and the Clinton Library.

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I saw that on the news when I was down around that part of the state earlier in the week. Although it still hinges on the vote on a sales tax increase in North Little Rock. I'm sure there will be some people in Little Rock sorry to see them go. But it's a nice addition to that area, even if it's on the other side of the river. If they'd simply merge the two cicites it wouldn't matter anyway.

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....so ...the outcome?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Afraid I haven't heard any news of this up here in northwest Arkansas.

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I really would love to see new life injected into midtown, but ultimately I believe that a downtown ballpark would have more of a positive impact, especially with the already proposed private development on the land donated by Stephens.

==

gee, too bad it's a PUBLIC development. i'd support a PRIVATE development, too, but that's not what's been proposed.

Why demand the taxpayers in NLR pay DOUBLE their current city sales tax to "subsidize" the day to day operations of the Travs for the next 20 - 30 years? Vote NO.

just sign me,

[email protected]

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gee, too bad it's a PUBLIC development. i'd support a PRIVATE development, too, but that's not what's been proposed.

Why demand the taxpayers in NLR pay DOUBLE their current city sales tax to "subsidize" the day to day operations of the Travs for the next 20 - 30 years? Vote NO.

just sign me,

[email protected]

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually, it is a joint-venture project with public and private development. Stephens and North Little Rock are merging their 11.6 acre and 11 acre properties, respectively. There are plans to have retail space and residential development on the 22 acre ballpark site.

Also, the sales tax rate in North Little Rock is 8%. Technically, the city sales tax will double, but the overall sales tax, the rate that matters, will only increase by 12.5 percent. Keep in mind, the proposed increase would only be for two years, but the benefits to the community would be lasting.

Finally, in what way would the citizens of North Little Rock "subsidize" the "day to day operations?" The Travelers would be responsible for the upkeep of the facility, and would pay rent to use it.

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That North Little Rock rendering looks like a good deal. Would offer a good view of the city. Is that area of NLR in that area in need of a good boost?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Downtown Little Rock is really booming, and has gotten many new restaurants, shops, and residential projects to go along with new attractions. North Little Rock is going through its own renaissance, but is experiencing much less development than the south side of the Arkansas River. It did get Alltel Arena and hopefully, is about the get the new ballpark. The area that's been lagging in NLR's downtown development has been in shops, restaurants, etc. That will hopefully be changing soon since Little Rock has almost completely developed on the shore of the Arkansas River in downtown. Now developers are seeing potential on the other side of the River. An example of that is the new Enclave at the Riverfront, $20 million apartments that will be across from Alltel Arena. Another positive for North Little Rock's downtown development is that it is connected to Little Rock via the new River Rail streetcar line.

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Actually, it is a joint-venture project with public and private development.

Technically, the city sales tax will double, but the overall sales tax, the rate that matters, will only increase by 12.5 percent.

Finally, in what way would the citizens of North Little Rock "subsidize" the "day to day operations?" The Travelers would be responsible for the upkeep of the facility, and would pay rent to use it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

1) the stephens land will be donated to the city for the ballpark. this parcel is valued at nearly 4 million dollars. local taxpayers will finance the 28+ million dollars construction. that's 87.5% public investment. they have been no plans to date for the actual use of the remaining 4 acres of stephens land or the city's 11 acres.

2) actually, the city sales tax of 1% will DOUBLE to 2% on oct 1st. there is nothing technical about it.

3) the "memo of intent" between the city and travs calls for rent [to be paid], currently in tax deductible payments, in the amount of 50% of the remainder when operating expenses are deducted from operating revenues. anything that is normal and customary to run a minor league ball team, as well as maintenance and upkeep of the facility, etc., shall be considered operating expenses [allowable deductions]. the travs will also be the sole operators of the ballpark during their lease term, and are entitled to all revenues from parking, advertising and luxury suite rentals. this adds up to subsidizing the day to day operations of a "private" entertainment business.

NONE of this was necessary for the successful ballpark developments in springfield or memphis. too bad warren stephens is no john q hammons or dean jernigan.

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1) the stephens land will be donated to the city for the ballpark. this parcel is valued at nearly 4 million dollars. local taxpayers will finance the 28+ million dollars construction. that's 87.5% public investment. they have been no plans to date for the actual use of the remaining 4 acres of stephens land or the city's 11 acres.

2) actually, the city sales tax of 1% will DOUBLE to 2% on oct 1st. there is nothing technical about it.

3) the "memo of intent" between the city and travs calls for rent [to be paid], currently in tax deductible payments, in the amount of 50% of the remainder when operating expenses are deducted from operating revenues. anything that is normal and customary to run a minor league ball team, as well as maintenance and upkeep of the facility, etc., shall be considered operating expenses [allowable deductions]. the travs will also be the sole operators of the ballpark during their lease term, and are entitled to all revenues from parking, advertising and luxury suite rentals. this adds up to subsidizing the day to day operations of a "private" entertainment business.

NONE of this was necessary for the successful ballpark developments in springfield or memphis. too bad warren stephens is no john q hammons or dean jernigan.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You need to read more carefully. Let

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If you want to see what kind impact a nice minor league park can have check out Frisco, Texas. The Frisco Roughriders are also in AA in the Texas League and they have a first class, old-school park. Adjacent development is blistering and the site was prime to start with but the park was really the first project to get it going.

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I don't know if this was specifically stated already or not..........but the tax was approved, and NLR is getting a new ballpark!

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3) What expenses are the Travs costing the city of North Little Rock? The Travs are still paying a rent, which was agreed upon as fair by both parties, and why would the

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you mistake me for someone who craves urban planning and design. can't you tell? .... i'm a privateer.

the city of memphis provided the land and utility prep for a new stadium project. cost to taxpayers, $8 million. jernigan

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you mistake me for someone who craves urban planning and design. can't you tell? .... i'm a privateer.

warren stephens *should* be ashamed that his intended gift will only come to fruition thru a burdensome regressive sales tax. stephens is in the business of financing bonds at a profit. apparently, there is no profit to be made on the new ballpark project itself. [i

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I'm not from central Arkansas and don't know as much about the situation as much as others. But I got the impression that the Travelers were in serious risk of being taken away unless serious measures were taken. Sure it would be great if there was always someone who was willing to step in and shell out all the money themselves and take over. I imagine there are those who couldn't care less about the team and don't want more taxes. But I personally think having a team like the Travelers adds another facet to the area and makes the area more attractive whether you like sports or not.

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What cap would you place on public funds that helped create "all of those new private businesses that moved in nearby"? 

As a "privateer", you seem to approve of 10% public funds.  Anything higher?

Since you've researched the Memphis project, you are no doubt aware that the bonds that were sold are federal and state tax-exempt.  Do you consider that an appropriate subsidy for building a ballpark?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

i do not think either 10% public or tax exempt bonds are a proper use of taxpayer money. it IS more equitable than the deal NLR just enacted via the special election.

as far as i'm concerned, governements should never directly or indirectly subsidize any entertainment projects. i much prefer the john q hammons method - 100% private.

16% of the NLR population lives at or below the poverty line. who thinks these folks can really afford to pay for the construction of "sales tax field"? they can't even afford to pay their electric bill.

valentine has said that he's been offered more than $7 million for the travs. sounds like he has a little equity that should have been used to pay his own way.

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