FCRA talks budget, sports complex move

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 122 views 

Chaffee Crossing’s financial statements may show a $486,677 loss (including approximately $281,873 in capital improvement expenses) for the first quarter of 2012, but for Executive Director Ivy Owen and the rest of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA), there’s no cause for concern.

“I am pleased to announce that as of April 13, we have accepted offers and are waiting to close on approximately $7.07 million in land sales. The majority of these sales have been for commercial and retail property and located primarily in the Chad Colley-Massard Corridor,” Owen said.

Owen said the offers have nearly doubled the FCRA’s $4 million budgeted goal in land sales for the year.

“I thought people breaking ground on the property we settled in 2011 would be the flag we’d have to waive this year, but we’ve almost doubled our estimate in the first three months of the year, and I don’t see that slowing down.”

Owen continued: “People are seeing the value of what they are getting here, and this really is the place to be.”

Four of the land sale offers were approved by FCRA board members at Thursday afternoon’s (April 19) meeting.

The first will close on Friday (April 20) and will put $130,000 back in to Chaffee Crossing coffers. The buyers, TRCP Investments, LLC, own and operate a mobile home park in Charleston, Ark., and will soon own of the RV Park at Chaffee Crossing on April 24.

A second offer was accepted Thursday from COBC, LLC, who offered $1.072 million to purchase 39 acres on Roberts Boulevard. COBC expects to close on or before June 30, 2012, Owen said.

The largest offer accepted at the monthly meeting came from Custer Colley Properties, LLC, who offered around $1.162 million to purchase 46.5 acres on the southeast corner of Chad Colley and Custer Boulevards.

Closing for this tract of land will complete by Oct. 3, with Chaffee Crossing having already received $15,000 in escrow as a sign of good faith from the buyer.

Finally, the FCRA approved a contract of $79,200 for 5.49 acres on Roberts Boulevard from Florida Oil Investment Group LLC. Florida Oil will reclaim and recycle compressor oil for the oil and gas industry.

Also Thursday, Owen addressed the recent controversy surrounding the possible move of the voter-approved River Valley Sports Complex from Chaffee Crossing to Riverfront Drive in the Downtown Fort Smith area.

The move was championed by Richard Griffin of the Central Business Improvement District (CBID), but Owen voiced his opposition at the Fort Smith Board of Directors April 10 Study Session.

“There are no infrastructure costs at Chaffee to worry about, no floodway, no lease to get out of, no cost involved from the city other than to say, ‘Yes, we’re gonna do what we said we’re gonna do.’ For the record, I support Downtown development, but this is the right thing to do—to put them where you said you were going to put them in the first place,” Owen told Fort Smith city directors.

On Thursday, Owen said he was “confident” the city would decide to keep the River Valley Sports Complex at Chaffee Crossing following a planned joint meeting with the Department of Parks and Tourism on May 10.

“I’m hearing from all good sources including the directors that they are now supporting this. But I want to go on record again as saying we (FCRA) are 100 percent in favor of Downtown development, and I told Richard Griffin that I would work with him to see that happen, and he said he would work with me,” Owen said.

Owen continued: “That Riverfront development is a key to Fort Smith’s future, and it is a potential that we need to take advantage of. My point with the softball fields (River Valley Sports Complex) is I wanted them (the city) to do what they said they were going to do, and do what was right, and build them out here. And I believe they will.”

To close Thursday’s meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve Drew Williams of the Arkansas Economic Development Council (AEDC) as the newest member of the FCRA board.

Williams will need to win approval from the Sebastian County Quorum Court at its May 15 meeting to be officially accepted.