JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The changes made to Downtown Jonesboro over the past decade are hard to ignore.
"I moved to Fayetteville, went to college...came back and saw this incredible downtown and all the progress that'd been made and I was excited to get involved in it," downtown resident and retailer, Casey Johnson told Region 8 NEws.
Much of what is seen now in the area are a result of planning made in 1999.
Fourteen years ago, national consulting firm, HyettPalma came to Jonesboro to develop a revitalization plan for downtown. Monday, the group came back into town to update that plan with help from the public.
A town hall meeting took place at the Huntington Building and area residents were asked to give their input to the future of downtown.
"It's great, it looks great, it's thriving. Now where do we go?" Heather Clements, Grants Coordinator for the City of Jonesboro said. "How do we connect that to the other side of the bridge and go to Johnson? Or how do we incorporate West End? How do we move East? That's kind of where we are now. What's next?"
A question HyettPalma worked to answer by speaking with the public on their views of the future.
"I would love more retail downtown. You're not just gonna come downtown to go to one store," Johnson said.
Johnson wasn't the only one with an opinion of what should stay and what should go. No shortage of suggestions kept HyettPalma busy. The consulting firm wrote down recommendations made such as putting in a grocery, an amphitheatre and a dog park.
HyettPalma specializes in downtown growth. Something they say Jonesboro has accomplished and then some in the 13 years since they've been in town.
"Honest to God, when we drove into downtown, we had a hard time even ever believing we'd been here. It's remarkable. The transformation is remarkable," Doyle Hyett told Region 8 News.
They don't want the growth to stop here, though. The firm is looking five years into Downtown Jonesboro's future.
"To give you any recommendations we might have to take it up to the next level, whatever that next level is," Hyett said.
Their work is something Johnson appreciates to keep downtown growing and thriving.
"It's great to have someone else's opinion who can sit back and comment on what we're doing right and maybe some areas we could improve on," Johnson said.
HyettPalma will be in town all week gathering information about downtown. They'll then spend about a month compiling the information and in mid-August, they'll give a report on their recommendations for the area.