Could City Limits Be Expanding Soon?

May 7, 2004 -- Posted at 4:24 p.m. CDT
POPLAR BLUFF -- The population of a Region 8 city might soon jump by nearly ten thousand.

With so much growth and development occurring in Poplar Bluff, new signs are going up nearly every day. But a new sign is causing some people to talk.

The sign is just off of the 67 bypass on Highway PP and while it's not huge, it's getting a lot of attention. The sign is simple. At first glance, it looks like any other population sign. B
ut if you look closely, you'll read the fine print...proposed population of Poplar Bluff.
The sign sits on Marion West's property, who says expanding the city limits will bring more to Poplar Bluff.
"I tell you where I got my idea, Jonesboro Arkansas. Seven years ago I had the city manager of Jonesboro up here. When they annexed Jonesboro, 75,000 acres, and Paragould that same year they annexed 25,000 acres," said West as he leaned against his sign just off the road.

The actual population of Poplar Bluff is about 17,000 people. But if the city limits were expanded to where West has his sign, that would include about another 11,000 people, and at 28,000 that could potentially make Poplar Bluff a very desirable place for retail outfits. And if that happens shoppers from Butler County may not have to travel to Jonesboro any more, keeping their money in the city, but until the town grows, retailers may not be putting down roots.

"A lot of businesses and a lot of corporations look at your population and that's as far as they look," said Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Scott Faughn.

But while it would be good for the city, it may not happen for a while.
"Do I think it's realistic that we'll be to that sign in the next few years? I think that will be difficult, but I do think we'll have some measured growth right around the city limits and I think that's the best and responsible planned growth," said Faughn.
West says the expanded population would help the economy of Poplar Bluff,
"It will explode! It will bring in more industry, more people," said West.
But city officials say it's not economically feasible for Poplar Bluff to expand the city limits right now, due to issues with city services and the water district.
"Whether 10 years from now we are 17,000 or 28,000 or somewhere in between this is a good place to do business no matter how we count it up," said Faughn.
West says his sign won't be the only one in Butler County for long. His friends that share his ideas plan to put one up near Highway M soon.