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Jonesboro approves conceptual renovation plan for Lee Street Park

This drawing shows the conceptual plan the Jonesboro City Council adopted for Lee Street Park’s renovations Monday. (Special Photo)

This drawing shows the conceptual plan the Jonesboro City Council adopted for Lee Street Park’s renovations Monday. (Special Photo)

JONESBORO — The City of Jonesboro is one step closer to being able to start renovations at Lee Street Park after the city council approved a conceptual plan Monday.

The decision to adopt the plan gives the city an outline to work with to plan what the park will eventually look like. The plan includes two performing areas including an amphitheater, walking paths, gazebos, basketball and tennis courts, golf cart parking, farmers market pavilions and a splash pad for children.

Although the council has approved the plan, Mayor Joy Day warned there is still much work to be done before dirt begins to turn.

“The first thing we have to do is find out how far the money is going to go,” said Day.

The council adopted the plan and gave city leaders permission to produce site and development plans by a 3-1 vote. What they approved is a park which keeps the parking areas along the periphery. That enables Lee Street Park to have a town square-esque look with many of its features confined into a large block.

The basketball and tennis courts would be on the other side of the driveway for the Eula Ponds Perry Center for Learning. Day said the courts would be done first so those amenities could remain available to citizens throughout the renovations.

The renovations will be paid for with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.

But not everyone was happy with the conceptual plans.

“I’ve got several things I think need to be looked at before we bid it out,” said Councilman Bobby Wiggins.

Wiggins’ concerns included people having to walk too far from the parking spaces for events, possible inaccessibility to get supply vehicles to concert areas, a lack of a camera system, possible lawsuits stemming from the splash pad and low visibility for the farmer’s market. He cast the lone dissenting vote against the conceptual plan’s adoption.

But some of his colleagues said they could still make changes to the conceptual plan before the city solicits bids from construction companies.

“What we are doing now is just getting it moving,” said Councilman Clarence Mann.

An exasperated Mayor Pro Tem Pat Sebo, who sat on the citizens planning committee that drew up the plans, said the committee tried to incorporate as many features suggested through public input meetings as possible. She also pointed out the committee worked for nearly six months to come up with the plan presented to the council.

“Is it perfect? No, it’s not perfect,” said Sebo. “But does it have all of the elements the citizens of Jonesboro wanted? Yes, it does, and more.”