Greene County Economic Study Presented

February 3, 2003
Posted at: 10:20 p.m. CST

PARAGOULD, Ark. -- Paragould and Greene County leaders are hoping a year-long study will help them improve their economic development status.

Two consultants were in Paragould Monday night to tell residents what they found. The presentation was named "Establishing the vision... Exceeding expectations." It's been at least 25 years since an economic study has been done in the community. City and county leaders are hoping these findings and suggestions will help put Paragould and Greene County on industry maps for future development.

Leaders hope a great deal will be going on soon here economically to attract more new residents to the area. They think people and industries will come if they utilize suggestions from a recent study.

"Many of these things we have already started," Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill said. "The process of an industrial park, beginning to look at a spec building, a land use plan we'll be starting a hopefully sometime this year."

The consultants also proposed ideas like targeting motor vehicle related industry and plastic and rubber production companies. Other recommendations included getting rid of eyesores in the area, and creating an entrepreneurial development center.

"Business retention," Bob Goforth said. "That is doing things, maintaining your business climate, so that your existing industry and business can succeed, and grow within your community, and not leave."

One of the main suggestions the consultants made was to build a spec building. An example of this in Paragould is where the Monroe Company currently is located.

"We've looked for locations we could put a spec building on, and we're working now to begin that process," Gaskill said. "We've done some of the engineering work and we're looking forward to hopefully to begin construction in the spring."

"I think it's important to have a plan to develop resources for the town and all, and have a clear idea of where they're going and what they're going to do," resident Tom Schmuecker said.

Complete results of the study haven't been presented to city and county leaders yet. Gaskill hopes to have a copy available for the public to look at in the next week or so.