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story.lead_photo.caption - Photo by Joseph Price

The Pulaski County community of Little Italy on Wednesday lost its appeal of a lower-court judge's dismissal of a case in which area residents sought the creation of an incorporated town.

The community of about 350 people, near Roland, has sought for years to become incorporated. In early 2016, County Judge Barry Hyde rejected the residents' petition to incorporate.

In October 2017, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza dismissed the residents' appeal, citing procedural errors.

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the Appeals Court sided with the county and Central Arkansas Water in rejecting the appeal of Piazza's decision by the town's residents.

"There was more argument on the issues, but the points have been made well enough," wrote appellate Judge Brandon Harrison in an opinion Wednesday. "The circuit court granted the motion to dismiss because Little Italy had failed to file a complaint; and it failed to name all the necessary adverse parties."

Central Arkansas Water, not originally listed as a defendant in Little Italy's appeal, moved to intervene in circuit court, arguing that it was an interested party because the utility owns land in the proposed town.

Court of Appeals Judges Raymond Abramson and Waymond Brown joined in the opinion.

Chad Pekron, an attorney for Quattlebaum, Grooms and Tull, representing the Little Italy incorporators, said Wednesday he would review the opinion and decide upon further action.

Little Italy was settled by Italian immigrant families from Chicago and northern Michigan in 1915, according to the community's website.

Originally called "Alta Villa," the community became known for wine production around the time of Prohibition, though the website says that today, growing grapes in the community is "mostly for hobby and enjoyment."

A map showing the location of Little Italy.

Metro on 11/29/2018

Print Headline: Little Italy loses bid for status as a town

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Archived Comments

  • Knuckleball1
    November 29, 2018 at 7:11 a.m.

    They deserve the right to become Incorporated, Central Arkansas Water should have stayed out of it. They are playing Big Brother to people that have lived in the Community all their lives.

  • Skeptic1
    November 29, 2018 at 8:20 a.m.

    This is more bullying by Little Rock that doesn't want to lose their tax revenue, it has nothing to do with water or utilities. Utility companies own property in literally every incorporated city. This unique community should be able to be a city under their own control, if I am not mistaken I believe Little Italy is over 18 miles from the Little Rock city line.

  • BpLrAr
    November 29, 2018 at 10:05 a.m.

    Procedural errors? Failed to file a complaint and name adverse parties? It seems that Little Italy may need a new attorney that is more experienced in bureaucratic matters.

  • BobfromMarion
    November 29, 2018 at 7:47 p.m.

    I understand that there may be some technical issues and other procedures that might need to be done.

    One possible concern that has hindered some rural areas wanting to incorporate into a town is geography. Some rural communities have 350 people but have the land size of a city of 25,000.

    I believe there is another possibility. A rural home association that provides a volunteer fire department and uses Little Rock Water and Sewer. The residents can form a volunteer social and ethnic organization There are rural home associations that purchase water from a large city. Some of these associations use septic tanks for each home. Some pay a larger city to collect and treat their sewage.

    The bottom line is that all involved need to get their act together and get this done. I know a little about Little Italy as my aunt and uncle taught there in the late 1930s until WWII called my uncle to military service.

    There was some encounter two or three decades ago with some of the families of Little Italy and my mother. They discovered that some in Little Italy were taught by my aunt and uncle. There were the same families in Little Italy in the late 80s and early 90s as there were in the late 30s.

    Most of the students my uncle and aunt taught have passed on. Those who still live would have to be about 88 or older!

    Mother said that Little Italy had not changed much from pre WWII to whenever this conversation happened. I am not able to pinpoint in time this encounter happened: Anywhere from the middle 80s to the late 90s!

    The powers that happen to be in this case: Get off your good intentions and get this done is some form that pleases the residents of Little Italy.

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