Building Communities

Jonesboro, Arkansas

The people of Jonesboro Arkansas have embarked on a quest to establish their community as the jewel of the southeast—the Shining City on the Ridge—by 2030.

As highlighted in this strategic plan, the community is already off to a great start.  The triumvirate of community comparative advantages, a focused strategy and unmatched teamwork sets the stage to capitalize on a strongly performing economy and to develop a truly vibrant community filled with quality of life amenities.

Simply stated, Jonesboro is a great place with effective community leaders who challenge each other to reach new heights.   The community has organized itself so well that the region is only one of 54 out of 372 metropolitan areas in the United States that regained its total employed workforce in the period November 2007 to November 2011. 

The twin economic pillars of nation-leading education and healthcare not only help create and maintain a resilient economic base, but form the basis for a high quality of life for current and future generations.  Arkansas State University was ranked in 2011 by U.S. News and World Report as a Top Tier 1 University   in the South and one of 60 elite institutions of higher education in the US.  Also, two local hospitals serve a 23-county service territory framed by St. Louis, Little Rock and Memphis.

The assets and economic performance of Jonesboro has earned Craighead County the praise of Business Insider Magazine, which placed it atop its 2011 list of 20 “micropolitan” areas with potential to be the next Silicon Valley.

Consistent, professional economic development activities have successfully recruited Fortune 500 companies to Jonesboro during the last decade.  Included in this group that now have a local presence are Frito Lay, Nestle’ and Unilever.  Fully 40% of the community’s labor force comes from out-of-county—a testament to the economic vibrancy of the city.

But community leaders are not satisfied.   They know that Jonesboro runs the risk of being loved to death.  The amenities that cause the community of 70,000 to swell to 150,000 on most weekends to enjoy the downtown, cultural, educational and historic amenities threaten to compromise the livability of the town. 

The Jonesboro of 2030 will not only be economically resilient, but will boast some of the finest parks, walking paths, mixed-use development living, and green spaces in the southeastern United States, and will have a public transit system that meets the needs of its citizens.  The community plans to be a leader in creating a dynamic, progressive, diversified and sustainable society.  Indeed, Jonesboro will have healthy people and a healthy economy supporting its existing generation, retaining its youth and welcoming people from all walks of life who desire the highest standard of living.

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