No Meeting for Regional Airport Held

January 3, 2006 -- Posted at 4:12 p.m. CST


JONESBORO, AR -- Confusion over a meeting to discuss a regional airport in Northeast Arkansas has left many city leaders in Region 8 perplexed.


Jonesboro's metropolitan area planning commission met today to discuss issues in Jonesboro and surrounding areas.  According to members of that committee there were no plans to discuss the airport. 


A courtesy invitation was issued to the Lawrence County and Paragould chambers of commerce to attend the meeting.


“We got invited just so we can see what's going on in Jonesboro just so we can be a little more involved,” said Lesley Hobbs of the Paragould Chamber of Commerce.


“Many people are interested in what's going on in Jonesboro and it's vicinity so they requested us to be on our mailing list.  This was a simple request by those two chamber of commerces,” said Muhammad Amin Ulkarim, the JATS Trasportation Study Director:


However an article printed Monday said the meeting would feature a discussion about the potential for a regional airport.  Something members of M.P.O. say they never planned to discuss at the meeting


“There was no discussion whether it would be any connection with airport or anything else,” said Ulkarim.


This quandary has left officials with Walnut Ridge and Paragould perplexed.  Walnut Ridge Mayor Glenn Murphy told K8 news by phone that the first he'd ever heard of a planned meeting was when he read it in yesterday's paper.


“Walnut Ridge called us and said, ‘We saw this article in the paper... we don't know anything about a meeting about the airport’ and so they just wanted to see if we knew anything about it,” said Hobbs.


“We didn't have any information that we were inviting them for this purpose.  We are inviting them just as our guests and to see what is going on in this area,” said Ulkarim.


Although a meeting about a regional airport in Northeast Arkansas isn't happening right now, area leaders say it is something that will happen eventually.


Ted Moskal with the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce says that they will continue evaluating sites around the area.