July 12, 2006-- Posted at 11:00 pm
PARAGOULD-- As new businesses are popping up along highway 49 between Jonesboro to Paragould, K-8 news decided to take a closer look at how these two cities are slowly growing together and the potential for the region.
Paragould's growth to the south continues as more and more businesses along 49 continue to expand.
And the empty highway that once connected Jonesboro and Paragould has become saturated with traffic from both cities.
"As we take surveys throughout the community, we see that we're very shared communities. Jonesboro and Paragould, we have people going both ways," Chamber of Commerce CEO Sue McGowan says.
Since the completion of the four lane expansion of highway 49, many new businesses have moved in hoping to benefit from the heavy traffic.
"I really think this direction is the way of the future for Paragould. I think it will serve the community better," Walden Motors General Manager Larry Self says.
And judging by the success of several new businesses along the highway 49 stretch, this is the place to be.
"Location's very important that you're on a main highway running like 49 is here," Diamond Trailers Manager Scott Riley says.
Thus, the traffic along 49 has become more than just commuter traffic, to and from Jonesboro, it's more of a regional concept that Greene and Craighead counties hope will encourage further business and residential growth.
"Jonesboro is a wonderful community to work with and be a partner with. Our city limits become closer together on a daily basis. They're doing a lot of growth our way on N Hwy. 49 and we're doing a lot of growth their way on Hwy 49 South." McGowan says.
And at the rate the growth is taking place, the short distance between the two cities will become even smaller.
"We're contacted on a regular basis on different entities that have an interest in the area. We have some that have made commitments and we look forward to those that will be coming to us in the near future," McGowan says.