Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

TOP STORY >> CAW goes full-steam ahead with land push

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

Even as work begins in earnest on a Lake Maumelle Watershed Man-agement Plan, lawyers for Central Arkansas Water are preparing to file a condemnation lawsuit against Deltic Timber, which wants to develop mini-estates on 700 acres on the lake.

At CAW’s July board meeting, commissioners postponed filing the condemnation suit until the Sept. 8 meeting, opting to let lawyers for the two groups try to negotiate an agreement.

Deltic declined CAW’s offer of $3.8 million for its acreage and declined to make a counteroffer, so when the board convened Tuesday, the original authorization to proceed with condemnation remained in force by default, according to Bruno Kirsh, CAW’s chief operating officer. No commission action was required.
“Our marching or-ders are to move forward with getting the suit filed,” said Sam Ledbetter, a lawyer representing CAW.

Ledbetter said it was too early to know when he would file, but Jim Harvey, CEO of the water utility said he believed the suit would be filed by the end of the month. Deltic spokes-man Craig Douglass could not be reached for comment Friday.

Meanwhile, both the Lake Maumelle Watershed Policy Advisory Council and the Technical Advisory Council each met with consultants from Tetra Tech Inc., the contractor conducting the study. Deltic had hoped to postpone condemnation proceedings until the 18-month study was completed.

BRUSHY ISLAND

In other action, the commission approved spending as much as $160,000 on the estimated $1.6 million project to improve the Brushy Island water system. Jacksonville waterworks has al-ready agreed to pay for 77 percent of the installation of the 24-inch line — about $412,000 — and Sherwood will pay $170,000, according to Jim Ferguson, director of engineering.

The Brushy Island Water Association share is $898,000, for which they hope to get funding from the state Soil and Water Conservation Commiss-ion.

Jacksonville was going to bring its CAW pipe through Brushy Island by 2010, but agreed to proceed with the first part in exchange for $50,000 worth of engineering from CAW.

The commission also approved its $35,000 share of a $152,000 engineering contract to run about 7,000 feet of 24- and 30-inch water line along Hwy. 107 from Kellogg Creek to Bayou Meto, according to Ferguson, while Jacksonville, North Pulaski and Cabot will share the remainder. The commission also accepted a $1.26 million bid by Henley Construction Co. of Harri-son to install about 18,000 feet of water main in North Little Rock, Sherwood and Pulaski County, including installation of 14 new fire hydrants.