NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- North Little Rock's city council is considering selling off land along the River Trail. A developer wants to turn it into apartments, high rises, and a marina.
This area is right below the bluffs of Emerald Park. The key is to protect the environment if the city gives the developer the go-ahead.
"It's unlike trails you see in any other places," says John Freely, a bicyclist.
Freely doesn't want to see it turned into the proposed apartments and high-rises, but he sees both sides.
"Personally, I would like to see it left as is, but Arkansas needs economic development" says Freely.
Jerry Currence, president of Taggart Architects is designing the plans.
"The main concern is making sure there is no interference between vehicular traffic and bicycle traffic," says Currence.
Right now, this portion of the trail is closed to vehicles. There's concern that developing this area would take away from its natural beauty because it hasn't been used in years since it was a quarry.
"The basin of this quarry is barren. So we will be increasing the vegetation and making it more beautiful," says Currence.
The developer is offering to buy 43 acres of land for $1.2 million. The plans include 300 apartment units, a high rise of an additional 120 units, and marina with 140 slips. Plus, to separate the bikers from the cars would be an entrance tunnel.
"We punched holes in the roadway that will allow light to filter into there," says Currence.
City alderman Bruce Foutch is also concerned about the environmental impact but also sees a big opportunity.
"We need the development and people to move back in and increase the tax base and the revenue the city needs," says Foutch.
It's a fine balancing act of taking advantage of prime real estate and keeping river trail cyclists and pedestrians happy.
Mayor Patrick Hays says this is a great opportunity for the city because residents would see beautiful skyline and it's just three miles from downtown. He's giving the public another two weeks to voice their opinions. The city will vote on August 27.
If the city votes in favor of the development, planning would start in March next year. The developer is McKimmey Realtor Associates which is working with Taggart Architects.