Scott’s tax proposal calls for indoor, outdoor sports complexes

Brian Chilson
TAX PROPOSAL: A portion of the one-cent tax hike would sunset after 10 years.

Mayor Frank Scott’s latest sales tax proposal calls for building an indoor sports complex near the Clinton Presidential Center and an outdoor sports complex in West Little Rock, according to city documents promoting the plan. 

Scott kicked off the sales tax initiative last week with the first of seven meetings in the city’s wards where residents can learn about the proposal and offer feedback. 

The proposal, which can be found here, calls for raising the city sales tax by 1% from 8.625% to 9.625% to raise an estimated $650 million or more over 10 years. The plan, laid out in this one-page budget, calls for a ⅝-cent tax for capital improvements that would sunset after 10 years and a permanent ⅜-cent tax for maintenance and operations.

Consumers in Little Rock now pay an 8.625% rate on most purchases, of which 6.5% goes to the state, 1% goes to Pulaski County and 1.125% goes to the city.

The indoor sports complex would be located near the Clinton Center and Heifer International and would include 10 tournament-quality basketball courts and 20 volleyball courts, with flexibility to host other sports and non-sports events. City spokesman Aaron Sadler said in an email that the sports complex has been “discussed with Clinton Foundation leadership.” The sales tax documents did not say whether the complex would be built on private or public property. 

The outdoor complex will either be located near Ranch Drive in Ward 4 or near Shackleford Road in Ward 5 “subject to final engineering estimates,” Sadler said. The outdoor complex will have close to 16 fields for youth baseball, softball and soccer. The city would use city-owned property and acquire private land for the project, Sadler said. 

Scott’s plan designates $64 million each for the two sports complexes as part of a $303 million allocation for parks projects over 10 years.  

The proposal also calls for converting War Memorial Park into a “Central Park-like green space” and would include new walking trails and possibly a coffee shop. 

Scott’s plan, called Results in The Rock, focuses on what he calls the four pillars of public safety, public infrastructure, parks and recreation and port and economic development. 

The plan calls for spending $100,250,000 on public safety over 10 years, with the largest portions going to public safety technology and operations for $30 million and the replacement of public safety and code enforcement vehicles for $37 million. 

The proposal would send $126 million to public works projects over 10 years, with $80 million going to “strategic infrastructure improvements” and $40 million going to the resurfacing of streets and sidewalks. 

In addition to the sports complexes, the parks portion of the plan provides $30 million over 10 years for the implementation of the Little Rock Zoo’s master plan. 

Scott also proposes sending $30 million to the Little Rock Port over 10 years, with $22 million going to the port’s economic development fund and $8 million set for infrastructure and expansion. 

The next public meeting will be Monday. Here are the dates and locations: 

Monday, May 13: Ward 4, Unitarian Universalist Church, 1818 Reservoir Road

Wednesday, May 15: Ward 2, Southwest Community Center, 6401 Baseline Road

Thursday, May 16: Ward 1, Dunbar Community Center, 1001 W. 16th St.

Monday, May 20: Ward 6, The Centre at University Park, 6401 W. 12th St.

Wednesday, May 29, Ward 3: Saint Mark Baptist Church, 5722 W. 12th St.

Thursday, May 30, Ward 7, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 5300 Stagecoach Road

All meetings will begin at 6 p.m.

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