BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) - Brookland is growing by leaps and bounds.
Mayor Kenneth Jones said there is a lot happening in the city he represents.
Recent businesses like Sonic and Taco Bell can be seen on the road through town.
But that's not all that's popping up.
A number of subdivisions are growing and with homes comes people.
"We're beginning to see a big investment in homes," Jones said. "We have, of course, the Brookland Hills subdivision which is now in phase two. All of phase two lots have been sold. So, we're expecting them to start phase three. Phase two has 74 homes and the first phase had 84. So, you know it's progressing very well and as many homes that have been built and sold in phase one. We also have a planned unit development that is about to start on Missouri Street. But we also have another 8 acres that has sold on Missouri Street. We haven't seen any plans for it, but they'll be a subdivision there. Probably around twenty homes in that. We have a subdivision planned on Easton Street and that will probably be another 20 to 25 homes. So, we're probably 150 to 160 homes around here in the next year or two and that's without phase three or phase four of subdivisions being completed."
The Brookland School District is also expanding as a result of the increased population.
"Our school systems are stepping up and matching the growth," Jones said. "I'm very proud of Brookland School. To me, it is the top school in the area. They are just now finishing a new middle school. It's 92,000 square feet. It will open August of this year. That's very exciting."
But the schools growth didn't stop with the middle school.
"We have also finalized approval for the new gym," Jones said. "This new gym which will include classrooms will seat 1200 people. It's going to open our school up for tournaments of all kinds and we're very excited about that."
The Brookland Daycare and Learning Center "Look What I Can Do" is also growing.
Mayor Jones said when they finish they're expansion 200 children will be there.
"It's really exciting," Jones said. "We are just truly blessed in Northeast Arkansas. I was at a meeting for the expansion of Hytrol today and they mentioned that our unemployment numbers for Arkansas came out and it's a 3.9. And that's just exciting for the whole state. We're bucking the trend that's everywhere else."
Jones said that everyone has to also work together to manage the needs growth creates.
"You have to stay on top of stuff and mange it," Jones said. "You have to make sure you stay ahead of the ball. You have to take care of the growth that's coming. I love talking about our city. We've got a lot of things we need to work on and fix, but we're taking steps in the right direction now. And we're beginning to see the fruits of our efforts. From our drainage to our streets to our sidewalks. We're just improving in so many areas."
One area Jones said they hope to have finished soon is the water system.
"We'll start our new test well for our water system improvement project next week," Jones said. "We hope to have that completed by mid-June to the end of June and make the decision if that's going to supply the water that we need and finish the buying purchase of that."
Chief Steve Beck of the Brookland Fire Department said he is also watching the growth closely.
"We currently have three fire stations," Chief Beck said. "We've got a fourth one proposed. We've already bought the land for the fourth fire station. We have four pumpers and five service trucks. We basically have the infrastructure we need now for the increase in population. We always need more volunteers. Presently we have 30 volunteers and turnouts. We'll roll that probably in the next two to three years into a combination fire department with paid firefighters. We'll start off with one and go into a culmination fire department."
But Jones said the growth isn't stopping here.
They have a number of future projects in the works.
"We recently purchased the old Brookland Café," Jones said. "We are going to make that a community building that we can allow citizens to rent for birthday parties, family gatherings, and special events. It will become our senior citizens building for the seniors. It's just going to be a great addition that we don't currently have."
They are also working on Brookland Museum/Library and a Veterans Memorial Park.
"We're progressing along with our Brookland museum and library. We've actually had our first fundraiser with the East Lab students. So, we've opened up a fund for that. Our first deposit was over $800. So, we're excited about that."
Jones said they'll be announcing fundraisers for both of these projects shortly.
"We want to be an element in the area that everybody is very proud of," Jones said. "We're building the foundation. It's just like building a house. You build the foundation, and then you start growing and things will work out."
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