Future Little Rock (Jeff Hankins Publisher's Note)

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

But we also have problem areas:

- The Little Rock School District continues to bring divisiveness among leaders and even segregation to the city.

- Our efforts to fight crime are to a great degree in the hands of Pulaski County, which isn't providing enough jail space. Voters don't trust county government enough to give it more tax money.

- We're slowing down development by trying to micromanage developers. If Target tells the Midtown Development District that a two-story store isn't economically feasible in the University Mall area, we need to listen.

- Dillard's Inc. is struggling with the rest of the department store industry and can't be counted on for growth. The future of Acxiom Corp. is up in the air. The outlook for Alltel employment is good for the short term but precarious in the long run.

- Several of our cultural and arts organizations are struggling because of increased competition for charitable dollars and the loss of major corporate gifts.

- Little Rock's tax base is flat because of little population growth and major retail developments in cities like Conway, Bryant and Cabot.

- Traffic congestion is a result of the increased commuter population. The interstate system is being improved, but the city hasn't been able to keep up with changing traffic patterns.

Action Plan

Here are some ideas about what the city's government, business and education leaders need to do:

- Seek out the city's innovators and entrepreneurs and give them the capital and opportunity to build companies. Don't let the next FedEx get away.

- Support a tax increase for the jail system but attach more accountability from county government.



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