Mayor G.T. Bynum announced a proposed 50-year master lease with River Parks Authority on Monday that would preserve the Turkey Mountain wilderness area and park space along the Arkansas River. The proposed lease also identifies areas previously designated by the city as potential locations for commercial development.
“This could be one of the greatest preservation actions in the history of the city,” the mayor said at a press conference on Turkey Mountain.
The proposed master lease is not expected to be considered by the River Parks Authority until at least April.
Below is a map provided by the city that shows the three classes of land covered in the proposed lease. Each class comes with different requirements for how the property could be removed from the lease.
The proposed lease agreement would not guarantee that park space will remain park space for the term of the lease but would put that decision in the hands of the River Parks Authority.
Here are the three classes of land and the process for removing land from the lease:
Class 1 (Teal) includes city land leased to River Parks on Turkey Mountain. Under the proposed master lease, the property could “only be removed (from the lease) if both the city and the River Parks board believes that it should be,” Bynum said Sunday.
Class 2 (Green) covers city land leased to River Parks along the east bank of the Arkansas River. The criteria for removal of that land is identical to the criteria for Category 1 land, but the city retains the right to use the property for utilities, streets and other public infrastructure.
Class 3 (Purple) includes property on the west bank of the river such as the Zink Dam, the pedestrian bridge and areas along the river bank that the city’s planning process has already identified as possible development sites.
To read more about the proposed lease, go to www.readfrontier.org.