Jonesboro School District Joins with City in Hopeful Drainage Fix

FEBRUARY 14, 2007 - Posted at 10:00 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Getting rid of flooding problems in one Jonesboro neighborhood would be music to homeowners' ears. There's a way to do it, but a marching band has to be moved before it can happen.

You'll soon see construction on a new retention pond on the northwest corner of the Jonesboro High School Campus. The homes around the Centre Grove area and West Highland Drive have a major drainage problem and the city knew they needed a solution.

"It just turned out that to fix the hot spot on Centre Grove and on Highland, this location here at the school was the best location to start," says Jonesboro Mayor Doug Formon.

The city hired an engineering firm to study the area and at Tuesday night's school board meeting, they presented their solution.

"They determined the best location for some retention of the water to kind of hold it back to stop it and slow it down before it gets to that area. This was the best location and really the only ground in this area," says Mayor Formon.

But the pond would be on top of the practice field for Jonesboro High School's Marching Band.

"If it's a normal rain, the pond will never take on any water what so ever and obviously if it's a large rain event, the kids won't be out here using the field anyway. In just a matter of hours, if it were to take on water, the water will be gone and it will dry," adds Mayor Formon.

The other option would have been for the city to buy homes in the area and create land for a detention pond, but thanks to the school unanimously agreeing to the project, taxpayers can save some money.

"The city has gone to great lengths to benefit Jonesboro High School. Once again, if it helps our community and it helps our neighbors, then it's going to be well worth it for us," says Terry Trotter, the Jonesboro High School Principal.

It's basically just an empty band practice field now, but when the city is finished with the project, several new things will be added, including a band pavilion. The hurricane band will still have a place to practice; the field will be in the same general area but expanded and redirected to run north and south. A concrete stairway will also be installed, along with a gated entrance to the field on College Street.

It's $150,000 worth of improvements at no cost to the school. Furthermore, it's a project that will help solve the drainage problems for their neighbors.

"It's only like we're family. We need to assist each other in help," says Trotter.

Jonesboro High School will still own the land and an agreement with the city was made to prevent any future buildings on that property, city or school.