Jonesboro council votes to annex proposed NEA Fair site

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro City Council voted Tuesday night 9-0 to annex land in northeast Jonesboro where the proposed Northeast Arkansas District Fairgrounds may be moved.

"We just don't want them being built in our front yards or our back yards where we call home and where our children live," said Danna Johnson.

Johnson says she is not opposed to the fair and it's facilities expanding in size and amenities, but she does say she doesn't want that growth near where she lives--out of concern for her family, property, and increased traffic.

"When you look around any direction, all you see are houses.  There's nothing out here that remotely looks commercial," said Johnson.

At Tuesday night's city council meeting, the council voted to annex and rezone a near 80 acre  plot of land near where Johnson lives.  The NEA Fair Board would like to relocate the grounds in the field just beyond the grassy knoll.

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says he believes the decision was made by the council members after careful consideration and examination of the site.

"Many of those people have shared with me that they've been on the site at least 2 or 3 times on their own and many of them took the site trip that we had on the bus,"said Perrin.

Perrin says because of location and traffic, many areas facing 49 will be zoned commercial at some point.

"I think that you're going to see that whole area down through there all the way up to the stop light at 702 and even further down between Jonesboro and Brookland is going to be probably all commercial," said Perrin.

Perrin foresees changes for miles along 49 for years to come.

Everything is in transition and obviously 49 south is going to be in transition I think in the next 2 to 3 years," said Perrin.

If transition means the fair would relocate near Danna Johnson's home, she says the change is too close for comfort.

"For those of us especially for me as a mom--you're not going to stop my passion against this. Just because I'm fighting for my home and my family," said Johnson.

The board says the new property located on the west side of U.S. 49 just north of the Farville Curve will give the fair more room and better facilities.

Johnson says a group of residents who oppose the annexation and rezoning did hire an attorney for this process.  She says the group will appeal the decision regarding the rezoning.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and let you know what happens.

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