The city of Beebe is looking at the possibility of acquiring approximately 50 acres in the city possibly for free that was supposed to be used for industry.
At May’s Beebe City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Robertson said the Beebe Industrial Development Commission property across from Oakley’s Feed Store, 312 S. Fir St., was acquired in 1991 for industrial development in the city. He said the BIDC “failed to do so.”
“In short, there were $40,000 in pledges made and the city contracted with the BIDC for industrial development and paid the remaining balance,” Robertson said.
As of today, Robertson said the property has still not been developed and “Alderman Derrek Goff has been working with the owners of the corporation in seeking that the property possibly become property of ownership by the city of Beebe.”
Goff said the city attorneys have been involved in working on this. “We got a few different things we’ve got to get. We talked to Rep. [Jim] Wooten about it. The BIDC is willing to quick claim the property to the city of Beebe.
“I guess it was in July of this last year we had a community development institute from Conway come to Beebe from UCA [the University of Central Arkansas],” Goff said. “They came to Beebe and one of the things they said to do – one of the biggest issues with Beebe was that we didn’t have any industrial – we needed to up our industrial and some of our commercial properties. So at that time I took it upon myself to just kind of do a little research on it and try to find the owners of the property.”
Goff said he had gotten almost all of the documentation that is in existence for the property. “We have talked to Mr. Wooten. We are going to go ahead and move forward with the acquisition of this property and we believe it can be quick-claimed to this city, free of charge. Once we acquire the property we can definitely move forward.”
According to Goff, the BIDC has a small amount of money “so whatever they need to do as far as paying fines or whatever for ordinances violations, they will do.”
He also said he wanted to add a “small disclaimer” that he is doing this for the city, because he thinks there are some people who think he is going to benefit from this acquisition. “I would think us acquiring 70 acres [Robertson said some of the land was apparently sold so now it is about 50 acres] for free would hopefully benefit us with potentially putting parks there free of charge, that’s going to get donated by a corporation that’s a nonprofit to the city, would probably be a positive thing and wouldn’t need to be causing trouble about.”
Goff said hopefully he could get the remaining information to the City Attorney Randy Grice and he said they would work on getting the property cleaned up. “I’ve got the service contracts. I’ve got the parcel number.”
Goff said Wooten had the paperwork for the pledges when the $40,000 was raised and “his biggest concern was if we do acquire this property, will those pledges need to be satisfied because that was money that was put down.” He said he would like to come back to the City Council to reconsider those pledges being reimbursed if that’s what it takes.
Robertson said he and Beebe Fire Chief William Nick have been communicating with the forestry service that could assist them with cleanup, coming in to burn the property off. “And then, we can see what we have to deal with there,” he said.