City Council Sings Praises Amid Crises

By Tristan Bennett
Delta Digital News Service

JONESBORO – The Jonesboro city council showered the mayor, first responders and residences with praises in the wake of the EF-3 tornado and amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The council held their first virtual meeting on April 7, 2020, in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. Councilmembers and residents alike shared their praises to the Jonesboro community for its resilience in these unprecedented times.

Councilmember John Street said, “The response from our neighbors in Northeast Arkansas was just unbelievable, overwhelming, and the spirit of the people in this city is not to be matched anywhere.”

Mayor Herald Perrin said in his mayor’s report that he has spoken with AML insurance adjusters about the condition of city property. It was determined that the flight station building, several traffic signals and a few vehicles were considered “total losses.”

The council along with the mayor’s office continue to work to provide support for residents following the March 28 tornado.

“There are a few homes in one section of the tornado area that did not have insurance on their homes, and we will be picking that debris up as well for public safety, peace, safety and health,” Perrin said. “Also, when they get ready to build and come back on that there will be no fee for the permits to get going on the property.”

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality approved a new landfill site on Strawfloor Road to help the city dispose of the debris from the storm. Jonesboro will be receiving $362,524 from the CARE Act, and Perrin has asked the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for special consideration in regard to their $7.8 million fund for emergency services.

Councilmember David McClain said, “The Saturday that the tornado hit, our neighborhood was affected drastically, am I am truly grateful for everything you (Perrin) have helped us with as far as getting extra patrols out here and whatever we asked. I think you’ve helped make us feel safe.”

Also discussed in the meeting was the rezoning of 400 E. Highland in order to build a new hardware store to be built by Ditta Enterprises. There had been opposition from the public in previous council meetings, but the parties involved came to a compromise, and many from the neighborhood expressed support for the new store.

Carolyn Ponce, a resident of the neighborhood phoned in during the meeting to share her thoughts.

She said, “I think it’s wonderful that Jonesboro is trying to bring more small businesses to the town and not big box stores, and would absolutely love to see a smaller, home business in the Highland area.”

After some discussion, the amendment to the ordinance passed unanimously.

Other issues discussed included:

  • Condemning the property at 304 Warner St.
  • The purchase of the land at 409 N. Fisher St. from the Arkansas State Land Commissioner for $2,243.36 plus closing costs
  • Postponing the vote on the rezoning of 1130 Greensboro Rd. for 60 days as to accommodate public comments