JONESBORO, Ark. – An elegant and attractive plaza is being brought to downtown Jonesboro thanks to the work of a club celebrating 100 years in the city.
The Rotary Club of Jonesboro, along with Rotary International and city leaders, will cut the ribbon on a much-needed downtown public space Friday, April 26 at 4 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend the grand opening ceremony.
It’s called The Centennial Plaza. It will offer a venue for many open-air events like small concerts, after-hours events, and arts and crafts fairs. The proximity to The Forum also allows the space to be used as another arts venue.
“I can’t get over how beautiful this space has become. I saw the drawings and liked what I saw, but to see it come to life has been exciting and inspiring. It’s a tremendous asset to downtown.”Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin
The Rotary Club of Jonesboro raised the funds to pay for the project. Several businesses also donated materials and time to construct the plaza. The project would not have been possible without their generosity, a release said.
One of the goals of the project is to encourage revitalization of other structures in the downtown area. Already helping meet that goal is a renewed effort to renovate and improve The Forum. Improvements under consideration include front façade improvements, box office and concession expansion, stage curtains, sound system upgrades and more.
The Centennial Plaza is a gift from The Rotary Club of Jonesboro as they celebrate their first 100 years in the city. This is the latest project the club has completed. Fort Rotary and Rotary Park playgrounds at Craighead Forest Park, and the yearly Arkansas Sportshow are several of the club’s other projects.
“It has been an honor to serve as President of the Rotary Club of Jonesboro as we move towards our Centennial Anniversary,” said Lisa Golden, club president. “The impact of this club on the City of Jonesboro during its first 100 years has been remarkable. It is our hope that this gift of the Rotary Centennial Plaza will be an outstanding start to another 100 years of service to our community.”
The project was introduced by past Rotary President Beverly Parker. She said the overall goal of the project has been to enhance the vibrancy of downtown.
“The (downtown) site was selected because the space was already owned by the city. It was felt that by improving the space, the city could have a superb open-air venue in the heart of downtown that could be used for multiple functions,“ Parker said.
Philip Jackson succeeded Parker as president. He expressed pride in the decision to move forward with the milestone project during his tenure in 2017-2018. He specifically gave accolades to Parker and Jerry Brackett of Brackett-Krennerich Associates, citing their vision, tireless effort and commitment to the betterment of Jonesboro.
“I’m very proud of the Rotary Centennial Plaza for many reasons,” Jackson said. “This project represents a significant collaboration between our club, the City of Jonesboro, our donors and all of those professionals involved in the actual planning and construction of this very special space.”
Rotary District Governor John Deacon, of Jonesboro, also expressed pride in the project. He expressed the gift of the Centennial Plaza as one that symbolizes the spirit of volunteerism and community.
“This plaza in the heart of downtown honors our club’s rich heritage and creates a special community space that will enhance the quality of life and connect our residents and visitors for the next one hundred years and beyond,” Deacon said. “We’re proud that our Rotary club provided the components and culture of service, fellowship and action to Jonesboro.”
The Rotary Club also provides donations to many community non-profits throughout the year.
The plaza will be dedicated during Rotary District 6150’s (central and northeast Arkansas) annual meeting in Jonesboro. Dignitaries from Rotary International will also be on hand.