Council member Steve Mosley is faithful to keep his constituents and the people of Maumelle up to date on Maumelle minutiae with his emails.
A few months ago, Mosley reported that he had asked Mayor Mike Watson for an update on the proposed third entrance. Watson did so at the August 7 City Council meeting. What follows is Mosley’s report on the mayor’s report. The next few paragraphs by Mosley are important for Maumellians to understand.
“It is important to remember that there are two components of the third entrance project. One is the Counts Massie Road extension that will take Counts Massie out to I-40, and the other component is the actual Interchange that will connect Counts Massie to I-40. The Counts Massie extension was funded by a bond project that was approved by Maumelle voters back in 2012 using a 6.6 property tax millage, and in the Mayor’s latest update, he indicates that this extension will be completed by this coming January or February of 2018.”
This could soon be referred to as the road to nowhere.
“As to the interchange,” Mosley continued, “this has been the most complex part of getting a third entrance and there have been many years of complex studies, government approvals, and design leading up to this point. Most of the steps involving the interchange component have been completed, and it appears that the final design phase and financing are the two biggest hurdles remaining.
“A year ago in the Mayor’s 2016 update, he estimated that the interchange design phase would be finished in 2017, financing would be finalized, and we would be ready to start construction of the interchange in 2018. The financing was estimated to include an approximate 50% match from the state with the remainder of the estimated $12 million cost to come from the City of Maumelle, the County, North Little Rock, and landowners. Thus, it was thought that the City’s share might be $3 [million] to $5 million, which could conceivably be covered by existing reserves in the general and street funds.
“Unfortunately, in the Mayor’s recent 2017 update, it appears there are going to be some differences in the timing and amounts of financing that will have a bearing on the construction of the interchange. The Mayor had met with Scott Bennett at the Arkansas Department of Transportation (“ARDOT”) in July 2017 to verify some facts and figures and was told that any matching funds that might be available were already committed through 2020. Furthermore, Mr. Bennett said he couldn’t guarantee that there would even be any matching funds for our $12 [million]-$13 million interchange. As such, he appeared to be indicating that the only way that construction of the interchange could start in 2018, per the Mayor’s plan, would be if Maumelle financed the entire cost of the $12 [million]-$13 million interchange.
“In making a final check of the facts in this email with the Mayor late last week, he provided me with an update. He said that he is working on the idea of possibly bringing an ordinance to the City Council before the end of this year to set a possible sales tax election date for early next year.”
Mosley’s assessment of the situation is the most realistic report I’ve seen on the interchange. You can fuss and cuss all you want, but it’s going to take a tax to get it done and most likely many more years before it happens. That’s just the way it is. I appreciate Mr. Mosley’s research and the mayor’s perseverance.
This is only part of Mosley’s report. I encourage you to read the full report along with several interesting comments at the Maumelle Residents United Facebook page.
Two tree-mendous events
The Maumelle Tree Board is sponsoring two events in the next few weeks. If you are a lover of trees, you’re welcome to attend.
Saturday, Nov. 4: Fall Arbor Day Event: Odom Community Center on the front lawn.
10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. — Mayor Watson’s Proclamation of Arbor Day
Mulching the three planted trees by the Mayor’s Youth Council and other visitors.
10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — Tree Identification Walk: Lake Willastein. Meet at the Veterans Memorial for the Tree Walk down the shady trail just north of the memorial.
Saturday, Nov. 11: Heritage Tree and Walk and Talk: 29 Danube St., Riverland Neighborhood
10 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. — Dedication of the Loblolly Pine as the 2017 Heritage Tree for the City of Maumelle
10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. — Walk and Talk by Arborist Pete Rausch
Join the arborist-led walk from 29 Danube around Riverland neighborhood to talk about trees we see and trees we have and how to take care of them, where to plant, etc.
These are dog-friendly events, according to organizers. (I assume that means on a leash.) For more information, call Maumelle Tree Board Chair Dina Nash at 554-2200.
Elliott announces run for reelection
In a fairly low-key announcement, Paul Elliott announced on one of his two Facebook pages that he will be running again for justice of the peace, District 14, which includes parts of Maumelle and North Little Rock. Eliot says: “I have helped to keep the budget under control and I love working with the public sector.” He has served since 2011. We’ll let you know if he gets an opponent.
Crispy goodness coming soon
As KFC tries to reinvent itself every three months with several different Colonels and goofy commercials, Popeye’s Chicken rolls on with doing what it does best: frying good chicken. It is now evident that a new Popeye’s will be coming our way in the next few months. The familiar orange paint is being applied and like most fast-food joints, they don’t mess around to get it finished. The new location is on the backside of Wal-Mart in North Little Rock.
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore is a public relations and advertising consultant and freelance writer. If you have a community concern, Maumelle news tip or if you’re just irritated about something, contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.