Report: Clinton Presidential Center Boosts Downtown Economy, Tourism


Report: Clinton Presidential Center Boosts Downtown Economy, Tourism
In its first decade, the Clinton Presidential Library has affected Little Rock's economy and boosted tourism, according to a report by the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau. (Mauren Kennedy)

Ten years since it opened, the $165 million Clinton Presidential Center has more than covered its cost, according to the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

In a report, the LRCVB said the center has affected economic activity and tourism around Little Rock, especially downtown.

More: View the entire analysis here (PDF).

The report cited these economic impact figures:

  • Investment in the downtown areas of Little Rock and North Little Rock has totaled $2.46 billion since the library location was announced in 1997, and has had an economic impact on $3.3 billion worth of construction. The construction of the library and the ongoing operations of the various organizations it runs has had an economic impact of $346 million on construction.
  • The Robinson Center is in the middle of a $68.6 million upgrade, slated to be completed in 2016.
  • The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Ballet Arkansas and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra have increased their spaces in downtown, while the Museum of Discovery and the Riverfront Park have both undergone improvements.
  • Little Rock's Main Street is being transformed into a Creative Corridor.
  • More than $62 million has been invested into the Arkansas River Trail System, which starts at the library and winds through central Arkansas, including a 16-mile loop though Little Rock and North Little Rock. 
  • Heifer International built a new headquarters and an educational center near the library in 2009, which represented a nearly $30 million investment.

The report also outlined effects on tourism:

  • Travel expenditures in Pulaski County are up 68.1 percent from 2003. More than 3 million have visited the library, which has seen annual increases since 2007. In all, tourism-related expenditures of library visitors has totaled $691 million since 2005.
  • Six new hotels have been built or announced in downtown Little Rock. Five more properties have undergone extensive renovation since 2004.
  • The Clinton School Speaker Series has offered more than 900 programs featuring ambassadors, Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel Prize winners for a total attendance of more than 150,000.