A Better Region 8: A-State Convention Center update

Could we actually be getting a convention center in Jonesboro after all that's happened?

The clock is ticking.

Back on November 17, 2017, Tim O'Reilly, the CEO of O'Reilly Hospitality Management, went before the Jonesboro A&P Commission to present the benefits of having the convention center and hotel on the campus of Arkansas State University.

He requested that the A&P Commission give the O'Reilly group a ten-year rebate on the normal 3% tax the city usually has for all hotel stays in Jonesboro.

The commission approved O'Reilly's request with a few stipulations that seemed to make sense.  The rebate cannot surpass $2.5 million dollars, and the group must start construction within 90 days.

We are about a month away from the deadline, and while the verbal indications are good, construction hasn't started on the site.

According to Jonesboro A&P Commissioner Chairman Jerry Morgan, the 90-day deadline is February 17th.  The deal from the A&P Commission is available to the O'Reilly Group as long as construction begins before the deadline.

Mayor Harold Perrin said at this week's State of the City Address that he'd been in contact with O'Reilly in the last month and that construction should start around February 1.

Let's hope so.  This hotel, convention center, and restaurant are needed in Jonesboro. It will help the students at A-State. It will add to our economy, and it will make use of some of the most valuable property on A-State's campus.

But I will fully believe once there is steel coming out of the ground. I hope it really happens.

Progress, seeing it through and getting it done as promised, makes this A Better Region 8.

- Chris Conroy, KAIT VP & General Manager

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