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    Little Rock purchasing property to reopen alert center

    9:50 PM, Sep 17, 2013   |    comments
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    • Little Rock City Board of Directors voted to purchase this land to be used for a community alert center on Wright Avenue. (Photo: Max Seigle, THV 11)

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A Little Rock neighborhood will get its alert center back as early as the end of the year.

    The centers are often a direct neighborhood link to city hall and police, but in 2010, the city closed some of them because of budget cuts. Now, three years later, one of them gets a chance to reopen - The Wright Avenue Neighborhood Alert Center.

    After a vote Tuesday night by the city board of directors, that community could see things up and running by the end of the year. 

    Chef and Owner Aquil Hamidullah works the dinner hour at his Wright Avenue restaurant that is just down the block from a former city alert center.

    "When it was here, it actually served as a buffer against some of the crime that was going on in the neighborhood," Hamidullah said.

    Hamidullah was feeling a little more protected in his neighborhood before and he'll get to feel that way again. On Tuesday night, the Little Rock board of directors unanimously approved spending $200,000 to purchase and reopen the former alert center site. It will once again provide a link to police, code enforcement staff and a center facilitator working directly with residents and neighborhood groups. 

    "So that's our objective, to actually be back in the neighborhood and have a direct access for citizens to come and have a place to do business," said Andre Bernard, Director of the city's Department of Housing and Neighborhood Programs.

    "I think the city and us and the people working together, that's a greater team and we can get more things done," Hamidullah said.

    It's a partnership making a comeback along Wright Avenue and it's keeping Hamidullah happy as he churns out burger after burger.

    Off camera, THV 11 spoke with one business owner along Wright Avenue who didn't feel the alert center was effective last time around, but he's hopeful that will change this time around.

    City leaders hope to start making improvements as soon as they close on the property and open it by year's end. 

    This alert center will also provide a chance for neighborhood groups to hold meetings and public forums.

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