City Council Meets for the First Time After Convention Center Controversy

MAY 2, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:15 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- After John Q. Hammons sent a letter to Mayor Doug Formon Friday evening stating his plans to withdraw the project for Jonesboro's Proposed Convention Center, many Jonesboro citizens were left wondering why.

Hammons stated in his letter that he was disappointed with the city council's lack of enthusiasm towards the multi-million dollar project.   

“I'm a little upset with some of the comments made towards the councilmen themselves. Here we are working for the citizens of Jonesboro and many councilmen had questions that we asked to them by the citizens and we just felt that those questions needed to be answered,” says Mitch Johnson, a Jonesboro City Council Member.

The council discussed the fact that a media source reported that the ordinance proposals for the center were presented to the councilmen two months ago, implying that they had plenty of time to ask questions, but they all argued that wasn't the case.

"I got my ordinance the Friday before the council meeting, and then five minutes before the meeting started, we had a revised ordinance and there were issues on there that some of the councilmen felt should be reworded," says Johnson.

 Tuesday night, council members met for the first time since the controversy arose and several members definitely had their opinions on the matter.

Most councilmen agreed they were just doing their job.

"To ask questions is just a responsible council and if that was the reason perhaps for Mr. Hammons for pulling the convention center, then it makes me wonder just how firm his commitment was to the community," says Judy Furr, another Jonesboro City Council Member.

Support towards the convention center wasn't the issue, according to several councilmen. Many said they definitely want to see Jonesboro grow. But there were still questions to be answered once the center was proposed and if simply asking questions was the reasoning for the cancellation, then, they say, maybe we're better off.