Honoring Jackie Johnson
More apartments planned for Maumelle Boulevard, Congressional redistricting splits North Little Rock, Extensive improvements planned for PCSSD plus news and sports headlines
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On Oct. 1, the late Jackie Johnson was honored by the city of Maumelle as the street entering the Center on the Lake was renamed Jackie Johnson Cove, seen above.
Johnson was Maumelle’s first First Lady and was married to Burch Johnson, who served as the first elected mayor of the city.
Jackie Johnson, who passed earlier this year, was a long-time volunteer at the Center as well as being involved in other community activities.
The first item of unfinished business on Monday night was a vote on the O’Reilly Senior Community Addition. This facility would have been built on Crystal Hill Road to the south of First Security Bank and would have provided independent living, assisted living, and a memory care unit for seniors. Unfortunately, this project failed by a 4-4 vote of the Council. by Chad Gardner To read more, click Maumelle: City Council Report
MAUMELLE: Maumelle beat Beebe, 35-10, last Friday in Homecoming at the school but there’s a more important game this week at Jacksonville. The winner of the game would move into No. 4 in the 5A-Central conference standings and would be guaranteed a playoff game. Read more by clicking Hornets fly past Beebe, land at Jacksonville this Friday
Maumelle High has Homecoming, Kearstin Vaughn named Queen: Kearstin Vaughn was the Homecoming Queen last Friday night for Maumelle High School. The first runner-up was Abby Jane Smith and both are seniors.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK: North Little Rock will travel to Little Rock Southwest this Friday in a 7A-Central Conference game. The winless Gryphons look to be just the balm the ‘Cats need after taking a 38-10 loss to Conway last Friday. Read more by clicking ‘Cats get roughed up, look to right ship at Southwest
CAC: After a 60-16 loss at Mills University Studies last week, Central Arkansas Christian is looking ahead instead of back. The Mustangs (2-3 overall, 0-2 in 2-4A play) will put that theory to the test Friday at Heber Springs (1-3-1, 0-2). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. By Donna Lampkin Stephens and read more by clicking Mustangs regroup, look ahead to Heber Springs
Neal Moore is taking the week off.
The North Little Rock Planning Commission will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 12 and on the agenda is an item that would add 243 apartments at 12000 Paul Eells Drive in North Little Rock.
The property is behind the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Maumelle Boulevard and is currently zoned for Community Shopping but would need to be rezoned to Residential 4, or R4 to allow 9 buildings with 27 apartments to each for a total of 243 apartments.
The additional apartments would be part of The Links at the Rock compled but south of the other buildings and on the other side of Paul Eells Drive as illustrated by the map below. The area that would be rezoned is in red and has a yellow outline.
The Planning Commission meeting will start at 4 p.m. at North Little Rock City Hall and the agenda packet can be viewed by clicking here.
Planning staff called the request “reasonable” and they also called for approval from the Planning Commission.
Among other items of business of interest to Maumelle, the Planning Commission will consider:
A convenience store at 9340 White Oak Crossing
A preliminary Plat of a residential Subdivision on Kim Drive as part of Country Club of Arkansas Phase XXV-C
On Nov. 2, those in the Pulaski County Special School District will have the opportunity to vote on a bond restructuring that would in turn fund a total of 10 projects to expand and improve campuses along with new facilities.
Election Day is when the 40.7 mill school tax would be renewed but the district is asking voters to restructure its current debt to allow for nearly $80 million in improvements to seven of its campuses, along with three projects that would make PCSSD more efficient.
The vote to approve the refinancing would not change the tax bill for property owners but it would extend the end payment date to 2048. Currently, the bonds would be paid off in 2032 and 2035.
The previous bonds were issued in 2012, 2016 and 2017 after approval from voters in the school district. The tax rate would remain unchanged.
Maumelle would be one of the biggest beneficiaries if the restructuring was approved.
Not counting lighting and software improvements that would be district-wide, Maumelle would have $15 million in multiple projects slated for its high school campus.
The largest is $11 million for new baseball and softball fields, as well as an indoor practice facility that would be used by all sports teams at the school. There’s also $4 million for the Northwest Transportation Hub that would be at the high school.
“The new bus barn … will be placed to the left of the track location near Maumelle High School,” said district spokeswoman Jessica Duff in an email. The move would eliminate $75,000 in rental debt.
Maumelle is already slated to get a track and field complex that would “be a stand-alone facility to the left of the football field” and Duff explained that the track was, “already approved by the [School] Board as a project to begin on immediately.”
The district-wide projects have a six-year timeline on completion but, “as soon as the vote passes, the bidding process will begin followed by construction for all projects,” Duff said.
The projects, with dollar amounts
Robinson High: expansion to increase enrollment to 1,500 students … $35 million
Maumelle High: indoor practice facility, softball and baseball fields … $11 million
New Northwest Transportation Pound at Maumelle High … $4 million
Mills High: multi-purpose facility … $15 million
Baker Elementary: expansion to increase enrollment to 700 students … $5 million
Harris Elementary: modifications and facility improvements … $3 million
College Station Elementary: modifications and facility improvements … $3 million
District lighting upgrades … $2 million
Sylvan Hills High: band room … $1 million
Software integration upgrades … $1 million (contingent on others first being completed)
“We have a unique opportunity to fund a number of large projects for our District and have a zero tax-impact on voters,” said Superintendent Dr. Charles McNulty in a release and if voters approve it, “will free up the funds for master plan projects. It’s a perfect storm that will benefit our students and staff tremendously.”
Early voting begins later this month, on Oct. 26
As of Thursday morning, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has yet to sign Senate Bill 743 but it has been delivered to his office.
It turns out the legislators didn’t listen, as the bill will split Pulaski County into three congressional districts and it will move portions of North Little Rock into the 1st, with the rest of the city and Maumelle staying in the 2nd.
The split moves the southeastern portion of North Little Rock and Scott, as represented by voting precincts 54 and 55 into the 1st.
Voting precinct 54, seen below, voted at the Glenview Community Center, 4800 E. 19th St., North Little Rock. Curiously Voting precinct 53 also uses the community center as a polling place but it would stay in the 2nd.
Voting precinct 55, seen below, is the All Souls Church at 4601 Walkers Corner Road, Scott.
The move, for one, would put the Academics Plus school system into two congressional districts as the campuses in Maumelle would stay in the 2nd, while Scott Charter Elementary would go to the 1st.
A map of all the Pulaski County voting precincts can be viewed by clicking here.
Arkansas state Sen. Jane English, a Republican of North Little Rock, had previously said that splitting Pulaski County was “unacceptable” but it was English who served as the lead sponsor of the bill that did exactly that.
Local legislators who voted for the split include state reps. David Ray and Mark Lowery while Maumelle is represented by three state senators – English, Mark Johnson and Linda Chesterfield.
Johnson, a Republican, and Chesterfield, a Democrat, both voted against the proposal in the Senate.
Both Johnson and Chesterfield spoke against the bill during hearings with Johnson saying, “counties matter” and that they need to be kept together while Chesterfield called splitting Pulaski County, “hyperpartisan and petty.”
The final vote totals were 22-10 in the Senate, while it was 59-30 in the House.
Splitting Pulaski County was opposed by virtually all municipal and county-level elected officials both here and around the area as Metroplan voted last week in support of making the Little Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area as the 2nd Congressional District.
That would have moved Lonoke County into the 2nd as well and created a district of roughly 750,000 people.
“It doesn’t make sense,” North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick said last week of dividing up Pulaski County. “Central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas are the economic engines of the state, so to split off North Little Rock … it just doesn’t make any sense.”
The Academics Plus System, which includes the Maumelle Charter and Scott Charter elementary schools as well as Maumelle Charter High School, reported its numbers are all now below the threshold of 5 to report cases per campus.
Maumelle Charter High … N/A
Maumelle Charter Elementary … N/A
Scott Charter … N/A
The Pulaski County Special School District released numbers on Monday for the previous week and that report can be viewed by clicking here.
The five schools considered feeders for Maumelle are Crystal Hill, Oak Grove and Pine Forest elementaries as well as Maumelle Middle and High School.
The school breakdown follows.
School ... Student Positive ... Staff Positive ... Student Quarantine ... Staff Quarantine ... Total Out
Crystal Hill Elementary ... 1 ... 1 ... 6 ... 0 ... 8
Oak Grove Elementary ... 1 ... 0 ... 1 ... 0 ... 2
Pine Forest Elementary ... 0 ... 0 ... 6 ... 0 ... 6
Maumelle Middle ... 1 ... 0 ... 7 ... 0 ... 8
Maumelle High ... 2 ... 0 ... 4 ... 2 ... 8
The Arkansas Department of Health report from Monday, Oct. 4, shows a total of 53 active cases across the Pulaski County Special and North Little Rock school districts. The Academics Plus System dropped below the threshold of 5 to report cases.
District … Active Cases … Cumulative Faculty/Staff … Cumulative Student … Cumulative Total
PCSSD … 37 … 33 … 192 … 269
North Little Rock … 16 … 22 … 119 … 165
North Little Rock School District is doing a daily dashboard that was updated on Wednesday, Oct. 6 and it can be found be clicking here:
Total Number of Employees Testing Positive … 4
Total Number of Employees in Quarantine due to School Exposure … 0
Total Number of Employees in Quarantine due to Outside Exposure … 2
Total Number of Students Testing Positive … 8
Total Number of Students in Quarantine due to School Exposure … 40
Total Number of Students in Quarantine due to Outside Exposure … 15