BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – The city of Batesville is also considering a sales tax increase to go toward a community center and sports facilities. They're proposing a temporary one cent sales tax to build the facilities and a permanent quarter cent sales tax for operations and maintenance. The city currently doesn't have any type of community center and hopes the project will help generate national recognition for the city and boost growth.
"This actually has 245 acres," says Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh as he points out where the new sports complex will be located. He is pushing for economic development and wants to build a community center, aquatic facility and sports complex to attract growth and generate revenue for the city. "This right here will actually accommodate growth for many years to come, 25-50 years we will have room for facilities," he explains.
Facilities that provide something for the whole family, but it all depends on the public and many have mixed feelings. "I'm against it," says Jerry Copeland. He lives outside the city limits but comes to Batesville for his shopping. "It's not necessary to have the stuff they're wanting to do, but those of us that live outside the city limits can go somewhere else to do our shopping," says Copeland.
"I'm tickled to death to pay my part," says Jim Barnett, who is an eighty-four year resident of Batesville. He feels the project would not only be beneficial for those in the community, but help bring in out of town visitors. "I think it'll be more beneficial as time goes on. If they have nice facilities like this then they can have guest from out of town and tournaments. It's really something we need. I hope that folks can support it and we can get it," says Barnett.
The new community center would be located in Fitzhugh Park, and the sports complex would be off highway 394 just 5 miles from the center of town. While Mayor Elumbaugh believes the sales tax will pass, it's up to the voters to decide in a special election August 10th. A public meeting will be held July 26th at 5:30p.m. at UACCB to discuss the proposed community center/ recreation complex, as well as here from the community.