Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - OPINION -

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.

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