Water Park Debated At Open Forum

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- During a town hall-style meeting Tuesday, citizens came forth with their concerns and wants in regards to new aquatics facilities in Jonesboro.

Jim Stearns is a triathlete who wants to see a year-round place to swim, for himself and his children.

"I think it's something that needs to be current," said Stearns. "I mean we have two small community pools and that's not enough."

He says those public pools, the Earl Bell and the YMCA, are filled to capacity during the summer months and don't meet the needs of a city the size of Jonesboro.

"They are old and they are kind of outdated so it's time for us to step up and have something that everyone can benefit from as well as fitness people," he said.

The Jonesboro Parks and Recreation Deparment agrees. That's why they've urged the public's help in defining what they want, a water park similar to Paragould's that's been around for about four years, or something a little different.

"We are in fact-finding mode and it is critical to get the public input," said Parks and Rec Director, Jason Wilkie.

"I don't think we'd have any problems paying for it," said Lynne Langford, who lives in Jonesboro. "I think we'd have people coming from Memphis, from Poinsett county, all over. I just don't think we'd have any problems filling it up."

Where would the money come from to fund this type of multi-million dollar project? Wilke says right now, he can't say for sure.

"The options for funding this type of project are wide open and we're not discussing any type of funding options at this point."

Wilke says any type of federal grant money is expected to be hard to come by, that leaves the burden on the taxpayers.

Questions or Comments? E-mail me at rsmith@kait8.com