Leader Blues

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

TOP STORY > >Annexation to be voted on Tuesday

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Early voting has started for Gravel Ridge residents, and the question they must answer at the polling sites is: Do they want their community to be part of Jacksonville or part of Sherwood?

Through 4 p.m. Tuesday, just 14 residents had cast early votes.

The election is set for next Tuesday. It is open only to registered Gravel Ridge voters. On Tuesday, voters may cast their votes from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at one of three sites:

Kellogg Valley Baptist Church at 9516 Bamboo;

Sylvan Hills United Methodist Church at 9921 Sylvan Hills Hwy.,

First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge at 14322 Hwy. 107.

Early voters may cast ballots through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at either the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center at 2301 Thornhill Dr. in Sherwood or Jacksonville City Hall, 1 Industrial Dr. in Jacksonville.

Early voters may also cast ballots through Monday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock.
Tuesday’s vote is the third and final election to determine which neighboring city gets the 2,500-acre community of Gravel Ridge and its 3,500 residents.

Jacksonville was the first to annex Gravel Ridge and set an election date. Sherwood soon followed suit.

When property owners or communities adjacent to the city limits ask to be annexed, that city’s council must approve the annexation before the property becomes part of the city.

But when cities initiate the annexation as Jacksonville and Sherwood did, the issue must be voted on by both the city and the land slated for annexation.

More Gravel Ridge voters have favored joining Sherwood than Jacksonville.

Jacksonville’s annexation vote—which included Jacksonville and Gravel Ridge voters only—was Feb. 5. In that election, 3,319 votes, or 66 percent, were for the annexation, and 1,733 votes, or 34 percent, against annexation, but about 70 percent of the Gravel Ridge voters were against the idea.

Voters at the First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge cast 594 votes, or 63 percent, against annexation, while 341, or 36 percent, were for it.

At the Kellogg Valley voting site, 195 residents voted on the issue and only 19, or 10 percent, favored the idea of annexation.

At Sylvan Hills Methodist Church, the voting was substantially less, but much closer. Just 21 people voted on the issue, with 11 of them against annexation and 10 for it.

Sherwood’s vote to annex Gravel Ridge—which included Sherwood and Gravel Ridge voters only—was March 11. In that election, 1,764 votes, or 82 percent, were for annexation and 386, or 18 percent, against. Even the Gravel Ridge residents approved of the annexation.

Tuesday’s vote is for Gravel Ridge voters only. If most voters decide to be part of Jacksonville, the community will become part of that city within 30 days. If the voters go for Sherwood, they will become part of that city within 30 days.

For absentee ballot information or other voting questions: individuals may call the Pulaski County Circuit Clerk at 340-8683.