On Monday Mayor Chris Jones of Imboden along with Mayor Charles Snapp of Walnut Ridge sat down and inked a 50 year lease agreement for properties owned by the City of Imboden and the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport.  The lease agreement with Arkansas State University is for 100 acres at the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport for $12,500 per year and 183 acres in Imboden for $10,000 per year.

The city of Imboden agreed to allow ASU the first 5 years of the lease rent free and the City of Walnut Ridge agreed to pay the first two years of rent to the Walnut Ridge Airport. According to Mayor Chris Jones the next step in the process depends on funding becoming available to ASU for construction on both locations.

The overall plan is to construct training facilities for Arkansas State students, emergency managers, and some first responders.  Arkansas State currently offers bachelor and associates degrees in emergency management and preparedness.

The Imboden location would provide training for wilderness search and rescue, utility emergencies, water rescue, and some tactical training.  The Walnut Ridge facility would be home to training for incidents such as tornadoes, earthquakes, agricultural emergencies, and flooding. Both facilities have plans that would include the eventual construction of education and research centers, as finding becomes available.