A new rounds of bids came in yesterday for a new use for the abandoned Ray Winder Field in War Memorial Park. It is now as it ever was -- UAMS v. the Little Rock Zoo, with a baseball group hoping to get a little field time before one or the other clears the land.
The zoo has outbid UAMS by $500,000, but wants until the end of 2010 to raise the scratch.
This is big-time politics. Normally, UAMS with its jobs and money, would appear a lock. But the Zoo has strong partisans on the city board, which will make the decision. And there's not a little lingering resentment over UAMS' tendency to throw its weight around.
The core issue remains preservation of park use for the land versus giving UAMS more room to expand its concrete and asphalt. The med center has carefully avoided invocation of parking as its short-term hope for the land, promising some undefined facility there within five years. But a decision for UAMS clearly is a precedent for further incursions on park property.
The zoo's proposal to retain the crumbling and not particularly interesting old minor league grandstand of Ray Winder seems an unnecessary pander for votes.
Whatever, at the blog, democracy rules.
Here's a link to our earlier survey on the topic, where zoo partisans turned out in force for the zoo's proposal. The voting remains open. (One per customer.)
Oops, forgot. You can go here to monitor the voting results.