City opposes halfway house | Arkansas Blog

City opposes halfway house



The city planning staff opposes conversion of a building at 615 W. Markham Street, a block west of City Hall, for use as a halfway house for federal convicts making a transition back to the free world. It has recommended denial of a conditional use permit.

Here's the report on the proposal, which is on the agenda of the Planning Commission Thursday afternoon.

A private contractor is bidding for a five-year contract with the federal Bureau of Prisons to operate the facility, which would house 90 men and women.

The staff noted that youth programs are operated in the summer at City Hall and that tourist facilities lie along Markham to the east (including Robinson Center, the Old State House, hotels and, ultimately, the Clinton Library.)

Staff is concerned that this facility with its proposed concentration of federal prisoners will negatively impact the City’s vital tourism and visitor industry.

As mentioned yesterday, a public hearing on the proposal is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the downtown library.

Coincidentally, the Planning Commission also will consider renewal of a conditional use permit for another halfway house, the City of Faith, that has operated for 10 years on Garfield Street in the middle of a residential neighborhood between the Broadmoor and University Park subdivisions. The staff has recommended approval of its continuing operation as long as it has a contract with the federal Bureau of Prisons.

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