Home For Troubled Youth Debated, Both Sides Heard


The Jonesboro Metropolitan Area Planning Commission met Tuesday night to discuss whether or not to grant a conditional use permit to Dr. Eddie Cooper and his wife Lee, who've filed to use their land in part for a project called "King's Ranch."

"Our country needs juvenile facilities and detention centers, we need all those things," said Harry Hergitt, who doesn't want to see King's Ranch become a reality, at least not near his home.

That sentiment was echoed by several homeowners, who spoke out in opposition to the project, which would be a 10-acre christain children's ranch, the Lee's hope to use as a sanctuary for children from abusive homes.

"For us and for our calling, it's to help those kids that do not have severe behavioral problems," said Lee Cooper.

They would house no more than 8 children at a time, all under 12 years-of-age, who would be under constant supervision.

"I think this is a blessing for a lot of the kids out there that just don't have a chance," said Barbara Feeser, who supports the project.

A handful of residents living in nearby duckswater properties say they're worried their property values could go down if a conditional use permit is approved by the city.

Some also say they worry the kids could run amok, threatening their safety.

Those in support of King's Ranch say they shouldn't make assumptions these kids will cause problems.

"I had to go into foster care and I'm now a productive member of society," said Audrey Ganong, also a supporter.

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