Special Committee Decides Future of the Justice Complex - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR--Tiffany Blankenship Reports

Special Committee Decides Future of the Justice Complex

March 8, 2006--Posted at 11:00 pm

JONESBORO-- A special committee met today to decide the future of the Justice Complex.

Along with bringing the current complex up to standard, they might build a new facility to accommodate several city departments.

Over the years, you might've noticed city offices have taken advantage of empty space...

The Huntington Building, was an old church, now it's where all the council meetings are held... The Justice Complex used to be a grocery store...

Although these purchases by the city might've seemed practical and cost efficient at the time, it seems that practicality will end up costing the city more in the long run.

"I think we have to get away from buying old churches and grocery stores and making things work. We need to start building buildings that meet our actual needs," Mayor Doug Formon says.

Although most of the city buildings are safe for working conditions, the mayor says they don't provide a long term workplace the city can count on.

The closure of the Justice Complex is just the beginning of a reconstruction he says is long overdue.

Thus, a long-range planning committee was appointed by the council to come up with a solution.

"We will look at functional as well as spatial analysis of all the various departments. We will also take a step back and take a look at the facilities that the city currently owns," Jonesboro City Planner Otis Spriggs says.

The proposal of a Municipal Complex that would house court, city and police officials seemed to be the consensus for the committee... Who thinks the city needs a new space that will accommodate justice complex employees and allow for growth from other city departments.

"Most every department we have within the City of Jonesboro is out of room, out of space... Even before we had this problem with the Justice Complex," Mayor Formon says.

The committee plans to create enough space to accommodate the needs.

Plus, add 25% for each department to allow for growth.

This is something the mayor said the city failed to do before.

"From the very first day the justice complex opened it was full. There was never any room for expansion so here we are now 12 or 13 years later and it's just time for a new building," Mayor Formon says.

The committees' next meeting is set for next Wednesday at the mayor's office.

Mayor Formon says the committee wants to handle the plans quickly but efficiently, and they would like to have a proposal ready for the city council to consider in 90 days.

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