Hempstead County, AR man fights planned chicken houses

HOPE, Ark. - A Hempstead County, Arkansas man is concerned that a group of chicken houses set to be built about four blocks away from a popular city park could have a negative impact on tourism.

"I don't think you could put it any closer to a bad spot than where it's at," said Randall Ross, Hempstead County resident.

The chicken houses would be more than 1,500 feet outside the city limits and within legal requirements, but Ross believes the smell would carry through the park and eventually detract visitors.

Ross lives near Hope Fair Park.

He recently became aware of the landowner's plans to build the chicken houses on West 16th street, about 1,600 feet from the park and Huckabee Lake.

Hope Fair Park sits on about 140 acres of land.

The park includes 200 RV hook-ups, playgrounds, ballparks, soccer fields, a rodeo arena, tennis courts, outdoor stages, two community centers, and several pavilions.

While the chicken houses meet code enforcement requirements, Ross believes it's just not a good location.

"Legally there's nothing we can do to stop it. We can just ask them to pump the brakes a little bit. Slow this down and take a look at what the economic impact might be for Hempstead County, explained Ross.

Hempstead County brought in about $1.4 million in tourism dollars last year.

Ross says the park is a valuable asset and needs to be protected.

The issue has been recently brought before the Hempstead County Quorum Court, but was tabled to give board members more time to look into the matter.

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