JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 church has closed on the purchase of the NEA District Fairgrounds property.
Nettleton Baptist Church announced Wednesday they officially own the property.
The property at 7001 E. Johnson Ave. which includes six buildings and 78 acres had a purchase price of $6,650,000. The church states it will cost an estimated $2,500,000 to renovate the exhibit building.
Nettleton Baptist Pastor Stan Ballard said the renovations will make the building more compatible for the church.
"We will renovate it into a worship center, sanctuary and add some Sunday school rooms and fellowship areas for all our age groups," Ballard said.
Ballard said they will start the renovations as soon as possible and they hope to be moved by the end of the year.
"We are excited about it, it is a big beautiful building and we intend to make it even more beautiful," Ballard said.
According to Ballard, the church will pay for the renovations with the sale of the old church and a stewardship campaign.
The church sold its current property on E. Nettleton and Thorn St. to the Fullness of Joy Ministries for $2,750,000.
Fullness of Joy Pastor Adrian Rodgers said they are excited to move to this building.
"I was familiar with it and knew what all it had so my answer was immediately yes and it has been a six-year journey," Rodgers said. "It is a great building in great shape," Rodgers said.
Ballard first came to Rodgers with the idea to sell six years ago when Rodgers wanted to expand his church, and now it is finally a reality for both churches.
"This accommodates the need we have without the hassle of having to build," Rodgers said.
Rodgers said his congregation is excited for the move and chance to be in a bigger space.
"A hundred percent of the people voted to buy this property, you don't get 100 percent in church so that was just a miracle in itself," Rodgers said.
He also said they have plans to use the space not only for worship, but to help keep kids off the streets.
"Want it to be a safe haven for the children in this neighborhood so they don't have to be in the streets. It will be a haven where alcohol is not present, profanity is not present and drugs are not present, and we are certainly able to do that in this building," Rodgers said.
Nettleton Baptist will continue to worship at their current facility until renovations are complete.
Ballard said he hopes the renovations are done by the end of the year, and Rodgers said they will move in right after.
"On moving day if they move out early in the morning then we will be moving in that afternoon," Rodgers said.
The two pastors said this transition not only only helps the congregations grow but also helped build a friendship.
"It was just a smooth transition, even in the tedious negotiations there have been no arguments no falling out. We started this as friends and ended it as friends and I think that is just a great story," Rodgers said.
"I am excited for our congregation and the future and I am excited for Fullness of Joy and Pastor Adrian Rodgers," Ballard said.
Nettleton Baptist also still owns twenty-two acres of land at the Farville curve on E. Johnson which they purchased to build on before buying the fairgrounds.
Ballard said they will sell this land to help offset the cost of the new property.
Ballard also told Region 8 News the fair board is welcome to host the fair this year on their new property if they would like.
"Our Deacons and Trustees have opened the door for the Northeast Arkansas District Fair to have their fair there this September if they wish to do so," Ballard said.
Although Ballard has offered the property, it will be up to the fair board to determine if the event will be at the former fairgrounds.
According to an email from Joshua Brown of Haag Brown Commercial, all fair creditors and vendors will also be paid.
"It is my understanding that today at the closing that all the creditors and vendors who worked on the fairgrounds property will be paid back and it is my understanding they will be paid back in full," Ballard said.
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