Fair board proposes plans to appease residents opposed to locati - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Fair board proposes plans to appease residents opposed to location

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

JONESBORO/CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – The Craighead County Fair Association met with residents Tuesday night at First Baptist Church on Highway 49 near Farville Curve to discuss the possible annexation of 80-acres of land. Gene Vance, construction advisor for the fair, said the land will be put before the Jonesboro Metropolitan Area Planning Commission next month. Vance said it's the fair's desire to be a part of the Jonesboro community.

"We've looked at several sites. We have narrowed it down in the past to two or three and then things didn't work out. They were unavailable or unreasonable in price," said Vance. "We are in hopes that we can have activities in our main commercial buildings the majority of the year."

Vance said the property is currently in the process of purchase. The original owners have signed a petition to include the land inside the city. This comes at the same time opponents of the fair have started their own petition to prevent annexation.

"There's going to be some noise there and when they put the fence up like they say. If they do what they say they're going to do, there's not going to be all that much noise to it," said Danny Luther.

Luther told Region 8 News he doesn't support the fairgrounds in his back yard; however, he said there were advantages to having the fair as a neighbor.

"Cheaper insurance and all that, I think it'd be great," said Luther. "They said they would help us be annexed into the city, that way we could get on city utilities, which would be a lot cheaper than Craighead, and they said that they would give us sewer. They said that our insurance would drop from a class 6 to a class 2."

Residents met to discuss everything from police protection to mosquito spraying Tuesday night. Many of them listened to what Vance offered them as incentives to become part of the city. Others were more vocal in their displeasure.

"When you figure six days out of the year, that's all it's going to be," said Luther. "A lot of people think that putting a fair in is going to run the value of the houses down, but really if we get city utilities, I believe it's going to bring them right back up."

According to Vance, the fair has offered to help residents in adjacent subdivisions annex into the city along with the future fair land. He said by doing so, residents would benefit if they chose to use city services.

"It will actually put sewer within on both sides of the existing subdivision. If that's the case, it will cost the residents of that subdivision a whole lot less money to put their homes on sewer in the future if they so desire," said Vance. "They don't have to connect. No. As a matter of fact, they can't connect unless they're annexed into the city. They cannot get city sewer services unless your property is in the city limits."

Vance said if the fair is annexed into the city, it will run sewer line from Jonesboro City Water and Light to the property. He said if homes annex into the city, it would be cheaper to hook up to the system.

"There is a drainage problem in that area. There are at least three residents that, but this property to the south that have a definite problem with water coming off of this site. The water will be handled completely on site," said Vance.

The project will cost an estimated $10-million on the first phase. Vance said if everything runs smoothly, construction on the site could start as early as this summer. He also said the land at Farville Curve is nearly twice as large as the current fairgrounds off Stadium Blvd. He said parking should be better.

"There are a total of like 1,800 or 1,700 at the current site and we're looking at 2,000 with the ability to expand that to 2,600-2,800 in the future," said Vance. "We have at least 60-75 percent more parking available here at this site than the current site."

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