The potential expansion and subject of eminent domain has been a really hot topic in recent months as people watch the Little Rock Technology Authority to see if people will be displaced when the board decides on a final location. The same could happen if the state fair board decides to expand at it's current location.
"Don't say the city doesn't have eminent domain desires or tactics, say you're going to save our communities, say that you're going to stand up for our communities," Dr. Anika Whitfield asked of the mayor Thursday night.
Dr. Whitfield used her turn on the microphone to share common concerns among many of the dozens of South End community members who met on the state fairgrounds. In just a couple of weeks the state fair board will meet to discuss whether they should stay and expand or move.
The director says the fair is too small, roughly 96 acres when the average size is over 300 acres. If the fair stays put, they'll have to stretch out and that could mean forcing neighbors, many of them elderly to move through eminent domain.
The city is offering $3 million in sales tax funds, hoping to entice fair officials to stay in Little Rock.
"I understand the fair is great revenue for the city. It's checks and balance, we just want fairness for residents that's around the fairground," said Ojima Robinson, an officer with Arkansas Community Organization.
Mayor Stodola told the crowd it's not the city's decision, but like the Tech Park, the fair is run by a board with eminent domain power through the state. Mayor Stodola also shared that he advised part of the airports expansion and hopes to see whichever road the fair takes, go as smoothly and fairly.
"They developed their master plan, they did it according to some very good principals that's said nobody would be moved until they had replacement housing they were satisfied with, that it was safe decent and an improvement over what they had. I would hope whether that's the state tech park authority or if it's state fair board that they would have the same kind of guiding principals and certainly I will be advocating that," he said.
The state fair board is meeting is set for June 14th.