UALR Chancellor Joel E. Anderson has urged members of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board to consider other potential sites for the research park in addition to those already proposed.
The region’s first technology park is sponsored by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, City of Little Rock, UALR, and UAMS. The ANGLE Technology group, hired in 2008 to do a research park study for the region, identified three proposed locations for the park. These locations have come under fire by some residents in the affected neighborhoods who don’t want to sell their homes to make way for the park.
At the board’s May 16 meeting, Anderson asked board members to remember that while location is critical to the technology park’s success, closer consideration should be given to the park’s location in order to minimize the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
“A tech park will change many lives in the short-run as this board acquires property and relocates residents and businesses from whatever site is chosen,” Anderson told the board. “These residents and businesses are our neighbors, students, faculty and staff, as well as your friends. It is essential that these persons not bear a disproportionate or undue hardship because of this project.”
He suggested that the board be receptive to input from representatives from the neighborhoods and other interested parties during the entire process. He added that the delivery of clear and detailed information from the board to the community is essential for a smooth transition once a site is chosen.
“If you try to develop a tech park in the wrong place, it will fail,” the chancellor said. “As a city we cannot afford to invest millions of dollars in a tech park in the wrong place. The people of this city are depending on this board to make a wise site selection.”