LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Even in the rain, some enjoy downtown Little Rock.
“I come down here quite often honestly,” says Tig Strout, who lives in Little Rock. “It’s a really good local scene.”
Strout says he doesn’t understand why upgrading technology means downgrading the city’s landscape.
“If they are done correctly, it would be good,” says Strout.
City officials say problem after problem after problem have been reported since construction started.
“They are being very careless with this,” says Little Rock Board of Director Doris Wright.
Little Rock Vice Mayor B.J. Wyrick says this work is happening all over the city and calls it a ‘siege’.
“They kind of just moved in, put a bunch of flags up and started to dig and the neighborhoods don’t know anything about what’s going on,” says Vice Mayor Wyrick.
The City says the installation of 5G fiber lines, which speeds up internet access, has created problems in Riverfront Park.
“Whoever is doing their work, they have done a real bad job,” says Little Rock Board of Director Dean Kumpuris. “They’ve cut all the lights in the park.”
Director Kumpuris says millions of dollars worth of sculptures have no lighting at night and graffiti has been reported in the park.
“If they don’t have lights working or anything, I mean, if it gets dark it can make it a sketchy area,” says Strout.
Director Kumpuris says he’s concerned about future projects that may include companies upgrading to 5G.
“If this is the first group coming in with 5G network then we’ve got a bigger problem when everyone else wants to come in,” says Director Kumpuris.
The City says a sewer line has been broken during the installation, meaning sewage filled the West Central Community Center.
“It was horrendous and people had to put on waders and go into the bathrooms and clean it up,” says Director Wright.
Those who enjoy the area hope with high-speed internet comes a high-speed cleanup.
“If they are not going to do it the right way, then they probably shouldn’t do it at all,” says Strout.
The City says Verizon Wireless is working with a company that’s installing the lines in Riverfront Park and electricians are in the process of trying to get lights back on along the Riverfront.
Little Rock Parks & Recreation Director John Eckart says the City is working to figure out which company is installing the fiber lines along Colonel Glenn and who is responsible for the sewage repair bill.
While the City says these lines are for 5G internet access, Verizon says there are no immediate plans to bring the faster-speed internet to the Little Rock area.
The spokeswoman for the company says the lines could be used for 4G but could also be utilized for 5G down the road.