Jonesboro, Paragould Slowly Merging

November 30, 2005 – Posted at 4:19 p.m. CST

PARAGOULD, AR – The short distance between Jonesboro and Paragould is getting smaller.

"I have had people in Jonesboro tell me that anything north of Stadium they can be to our place about as quick as they can get across town in Jonesboro," said Jay Ussery, General Manager of Buffalo's Southwest Café.

Since the completion of the four-lane expansion of Highway 49 more and more businesses have been popping up.

"I think you are going to see a lot more cooperation between the 2 entities," said Sue McGowan of the Paragould Chamber of Commerce.

"Just a few years ago Highway 49 between Jonesboro and Paragould was just a commuter highway between the two cities, but as Jonesboro grows to the north and Paragould continues to grow to the south, businesses like ours are trying to take advantage of the convenient location," said Ussery, "I think they will be able to get services in both of the communities that they we weren't able to offer in the past."

"With the growth of Paragould headed south we thought we would try to get our foot in the door by having the first restaurant on the south side of town," said McGowan, "At the present time we are in a wet county, and we are in a position where we can offer drinks to people that desire."

It's a regional concept the two chamber's commerce hope will bring new businesses to Greene and Craighead counties.

"Any growth in counties that are contagious to Craighead County is going to be good for everybody," said Cari White of the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce.

Though one county might lose business to the other, they are both happy those dollars stay here in Arkansas.

"As we continually work together I think we will see these two communities grow and to become something this entire region is proud of," said White.

Currently both chamber's of commerce are pushing to add Greene County to the metropolitan statistical area. It's these numbers which determine the money that is allocated by the state for roads and other projects.