Future Little Rock (Jeff Hankins Publisher's Note)

by Jeff Hankins  on Monday, Nov. 26, 2007 12:00 am  

I'm not part of the club that meets to pontificate about the future of Little Rock, no one has asked for my views, and I don't hold public office. Fortunately, I have access to this space and you. 

In the mid-1990s, while I was still editor, Arkansas Business Publisher Wythe Walker contemplated running for mayor of Little Rock. He took Mayor Jim Dailey and other city leaders to task regularly, and did so as a Little Rock native and blueblood.

While I have resided in Little Rock for only 14 years, my family will be here for many years to come. My children were born in Little Rock and will be raised and educated here, and most of my business interests are here. I've grown to love the city and want it to continue to be a great place to live and work.

I'm concerned about a degree of overall stagnation that we could be facing in the next decade.

Bright Spots, Problem Areas

This isn't to say we don't have our share of growth bright spots, including:

- Tourism growth fueled by the Clinton Presidential Library.

- Recruitment of new manufacturers and continued expansion of the aviation industry.

- Continued expansion of health care services and research by Baptist Health, St. Vincent Health System, UAMS Medical Center and the specialty hospitals and clinics.

- Ongoing redevelopment of downtown Little Rock, including housing with high-rise condominiums.

- Widespread retail developments.

- The spin-off of Windstream Communications by Alltel Corp. that saved hundreds of jobs and gave the city another publicly traded company.



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