WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - UPDATE: Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said the new Taco Bell will officially open October 14 at 7 a.m.
He said he and the new Lawrence County Judge John Thomison will eat the first tacos in honor of Dale Freeman's support for the project.
Snapp also said he and Thomison will hold a pledge of a unified effort for the future.
A new business will soon be open in Lawrence County.
City and county officials gathered in Walnut Ridge for a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.
A Taco Bell is under construction on Highway 67B, beside Aaron's.
Mayor Charles Snapp said this is going to have a lasting effect on their economy.
"Right now, they're talking about 45 to 50 jobs," Snapp said. "That pay base annually will be right around $1 million. Projected tax revenue between the state, the county and the city will be near a quarter of a million dollars a year. That's huge. Think about the property tax. If the employees bring kids that go to one of the schools then the schools will benefit. Realistically, you're looking at a five-year projection of in excess of $6.5 million in economic impact from this one business."
Executive Director of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Fran Cavenaugh echoed the mayor's opinion.
"Our residents are going to be happy because they've been asking for Taco Bell for a long time," Cavenaugh said. "So, they're all going to be happy. But for us the economic impact in tax dollars is going to be significant. It's going to allow us to continue our growth that we're experiencing here in Lawrence County. This is our second major announcement in about a week about a national chain coming. There will be additional ones coming that we're working with. So, this is one more step in what we're doing to revitalize our town."
Snapp said the interest in Walnut Ridge from businesses shows they have something others don't.
"We have a lot of things to offer," Snapp said. "We have many things big towns don't. We have a good work ethic, a good population and we're growing in leaps and bounds in the area right now."
Lifetime Walnut Ridge resident Marion McDaniel said he was thrilled when he heard about Taco Bell coming.
"I think it's going to be a good thing for the city of Walnut Ridge," McDaniel said. "I think the business will be great for the city."
The building will be around 2,400 square feet and contain a drive thru.
"They tell me that about 70% of their business is done through the drive thru," Snapp said. "So, they're going to have a large parking lot. The building will be kind of a rectangle shape. It's a good looking piece of property. It's going to be a big face lift for this area. And it shows the growth that out of town investors believe in the community. And that's the key. It's one thing for a local to invest. It's another thing for these out of town corporations coming in and they understand the numbers that are there."
"If one believes and then another one says well there must be something good going on there," Cavenaugh said. "Then another one will come. We call it the snowball effect."
Mayor Snapp said Walnut Ridge's future is bright.
"The future holds more growth," Snapp said. "Hopefully another announcement or two coming soon. One of them possibly on the 27th of this month. We have a lot in the works and we are aggressively marketing the area. And when I say 'we' it's my city staff, the county judge, his staff and the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce."
The new location should be operational in about four months.
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