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Arkansas Business: Uncertain future for Argenta CDC | News

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Arkansas Business: Uncertain future for Argenta CDC
Arkansas Business: Uncertain future for Argenta CDC

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Argenta Community Development Corp., the nonprofit that help spur redevelopment in downtown North Little Rock, is facing new challenges and an uncertain future.

Among its financial difficulties, a foreclosure lawsuit filed against it after defaulting on a $560,000 loan.

Simmons First National Bank of Pine Bluff filed the foreclosure lawsuit against the CDC last month.

As of now, it looks like Simmons will end up taking over the property at 709 to 715 Main St. in North Little Rock, which the CDC used to secure the loan.

That's because the CDC says it simply doesn't have the money to pay the debt and hasn't been able to find a buyer.

Money has been at the center of the nonprofit's troubles in the last several years. Its previous director, Mary Beth Bowman, resigned in 2013.

In her resignation letter, she complained that the organization's finances were in bad shape. Some of the money troubles were tied to the CDC's inability to recoup its investments on the new homes it built in the area, which goes from I-30 to Pike Ave., and as far north as 22nd Street.

At the end of her time as director last summer, Bowman had cut the group's operations to the bare bones to eke out a $47,000 profit.

The CDC's latest executive director, Hannah Vogler, tells Arkansas Business that the organization is considering a range of options, including whether to dissolve.

She said the board is discussing everything from selling its property in Argenta, which includes a controlling interest in the 57-unit Argenta Square Apartments, or taking the property over itself and becoming property managers.

She says the key thing is to ensure the neighborhood remains stable. She points to the revitalization that's occurred in the area, and says the CDC has accomplished its original goal outlined in 1992 which was to "save Argenta."