Residents puzzled about mall progress on tornado anniversary

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - It has been two years since a tornado ripped through the Mall at Turtle Creek and the lack of rebuilding has many shoppers wondering if it will ever come back.

The infamous March 2020 tornado took out many small businesses in Jonesboro and destroyed a stretch of the mall in between JCPenney and Dillard’s.

The space has been vacant since then, which has many Jonesboro residents, as well as mall employee Erica Phillips, upset about how it looks.

“I do think it’s important to clean the space up, the Turtle Creek Mall you see now is trashed,” Phillips said. “I mean so many people come here for the mall, every weekend we have people showing up asking where the mall is and where these stores are.”

The mall was a spot where families had the chance to eat and shop, and it provided a central meeting location for groups, which Tiffany Vance said was perfect for her family.

“My family and I used to come quite often. We’d get together up here and shop at different stores or sit in the food court or whatever,” Vance said. “It was a good place to gather.”

As a mother of two children, Vance said the mall made it easy for her to run errands without moving around.

“I think it would have a positive impact on the community to build it back,” Vance said. “Having a place to go and shop locally, especially for people like me with kids having to leave stores having to buckle and unbuckle car seats is a lot.”

The space is owned by Brookfield Properties, which is a private organization, meaning the city has its hands tied.

“Our citizens ask me daily about the mall,” said Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver. “I make sure to express those concerns to Brookfield Properties because unfortunately there are things I can’t change.”

Copenhaver said he is encouraging them to either rebuild or look into other options.

Brookfield Properties had no comment on the mall or its future.

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