Should the City be in the rental business?
I attended the city Board of Directors meeting last week because of concern that under consideration would be granting a lease of the old post office building to a bicycle company — however, perhaps one shouldn’t form a hard opinion without knowing the details of a situation.
Several business owners and others addressed the board — pro or con about the proposal — with the pros largely outnumbering the cons.
Two primary concerns were voiced: The city becoming involved in the rental business by leasing city owned property, and that the unusually low rate being offered was unfair to others who must lease business space. There was also the question of whether the city could have made a better deal with some other prospect.
Personally, an important point was that Phat Tire deals in mountain/trail bikes, and their operating in Siloam Springs shouldn’t have a significant effect on Ben Jones’ Dogwood Junction bicycle business; although, it should be noted, a part of his business is servicing that type bike. Ben — as a citizen and the business he’s worked so hard to establish — are a credit to this town.
The board voiced concern that the building had stood unoccupied for many years, and Phat Tire Company was their sole response when they made known the building was available. The expenditures by the city will be for necessary repairs and to bring an old building up to code. Phat Tire will be responsible for renovations to meet their needs. The Postmaster’s office will remain intact as will the mural. From: Barbara Foreman Siloam Springs
Due to the terrain and number of well laid-out trails, trail biking apparently is a popular sport in this part of the country, and Phat Tire is a successful enterprise serving that activity. Phat Tire’s website tells the story that in 2007 two young men who grew up in Bentonville were helping build a biking trail and realized there were no sales and particularly service facilities in the area so took a chance and started the business.
One of those owners spoke before the Board about their operation and what it would offer Siloam Springs. The three men who will operate the store were also present; two of them live here. Present locations are Bentonville, Fayetteville and Fort Smith. They participate in many biking events and as with most businesses in Siloam will draw in both Arkansas and Oklahoma customers.