JONESBORO, Ark. – In his weekly column and radio address, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had compliments for the accomplishments in downtown Jonesboro.
While discussing his second international trade mission to Europe as governor, Hutchinson said he took pleasure in discussing some local success stories, specifically Jonesboro’s.
“Every part of Arkansas has a story to tell, and some of the best stories are about people who work and live for the people in their community,” Hutchinson said in the radio address. “The Downtown Jonesboro Association, a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing the downtown scene, has worked to offer resources and programs to improve the quality of life for Jonesboro’s citizens and businesses downtown.From art murals created by A-State University students to the nationally accredited ‘Main Street’ program, the Downtown Jonesboro Association is making its mark on Northeast Arkansas.”
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin told NEA Report he was thrilled to hear the governor’s address and said more good things are planned.
“I was extremely pleased to hear Gov. Hutchinson’s radio address talking about Jonesboro,” Perrin said. “It’s evident that all the hard work the city, the Downtown Jonesboro Association and all our civic groups have done to improve downtown is paying off.”
Hutchinson mentioned the “Alive after Five” program, talking about how it attracted more than 500 visitors each month, benefiting local farmers, bakers, musicians and shops. He also mentioned job creation, with the DJA creating 87 new jobs through business recruitment, bringing the total number of new businesses downtown to 17. This year, as the governor said six more businesses have opened their doors.
Hutchinson quoted DJA’s executive director, Hailey Knight, while discussing the mission and the results of the hard work in the area.
“Since 2000, local community members and stakeholders have worked continuously to improve our streetscape, recruit businesses and rehabilitate buildings – all helping to promote the area as the ultimate destination place for Northeast Arkansas,” he quoted Knight as saying.
Gov. Hutchinson mentioned a $15,000 grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Society to go toward building improvement, downtown parking, public art initiatives and more. In addition, Perrin said hopes are for even more grant money to improve the area.
“We’ve already applied for a federal grant to secure funding for clean-up and connectivity from downtown to Arkansas State University,” Perrin said. “All these things show we’ve been a blessed community.”
It is a sentiment the Arkansas governor shared with Europeans on his trip and with Arkansans in the radio address.
“There’s a lot of reasons to love Arkansas, and small town stories that have a big impact are some of the greatest examples,” Hutchinson concluded. “If you’re wanting to take a weekend trip before summer ends, consider visiting places like Jonesboro. And if your story takes you there, use the Twitter hashtag #WeAreDowntowners to share your experience with others.”
Featured photo by Stan Morris | NEA Report