by Max Brantley
Thanks to Lance Turner at Arkansas Business for a tip to maritime disaster in North Little Rock. The mayor's navy has suffered a blow.
The Salty Parrot barge is sinking.
Arkansas Business picked up on partner KTHV's coverage (which includes video) and Charles Crowson's photo.
UPDATE: Scott Miller's Argenta News provides some useful local context on the sinking, corrects the record on barge usage and notes the mayor's bailout of another leaky riverfront vessel. (One wag calls this one NLR's "second submarine.")
Business was sinking at the Salty Parrot anyway. According to representaives with the Arkansas Queen (who run the Salty Parrot) , the Salty Parrot was not going to re-open as bar/restaurant this year. Instead the barge was going to be rented out for private parties and events. The pre-scuba required rental rate was to be $400 for four hours and $75 for each additional hour and this rate included an event coordinator from the Arkansas Queen staff.
Will the City be spending another $50,000 to float the Salty Parrot with foam like they did last year for the Patriot? This may be very tough call, particularly when accordng to today's Dem/Gaz the City is staring down a $2 million dollar revenue shortfall and is cutting City services to balance the budget. Keep in mind the City leases the dock space to the Arkansas Queen under a lease arrangment that only requires the Queen to pay rent if their sales are over a certain threshold amount. At least check, the sales had not exceeded that threshold so the Arkansas Queen has not had to pay rent to the City. They do reimburse the City for the City portion of the sales tax and hamburger tax they collect from their patrons. The Arkansas Queen also benefits from the City maintaining the parking lot they use.