PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. – On Wednesday, the City of Wrightsville held a groundbreaking ceremony for a $9.1 million project to bring a new neighborhood near the city, hoping it will help with growth.

Wrightsville developer Robert Ray said where they are building the residential lots is a diamond in the rough.

“I think it’s a hidden jewel, potential-wise,” Ray said. “The proximity to Little Rock, the downtown area is very close.”

After years of envisioning a new and affordable neighborhood, Ray, with the partnership of several banks, is building Timberline Trace which will have 26 homes and a large commercial space where they hope it will be a place with fresh food.

“We do want it to be affordable in a sense where people can have a nice house and it be a house with a couple of bells and whistles where they may not get otherwise,” Ray said. “After COVID, you know three years later, we are in this housing deficit. Why not now and why not here?”

Ray said he hopes it will give the city more opportunities.

“Once I-530 came through, it took a lot of the traffic that would support some of the small businesses in Wrightsville,” he said.

Wrightsville Mayor Derrick Rainey said the development is something they have not seen in a while.

“This project was important because it looks at generational legacy,” he said. “This is all about community and it’s about looking forward to developing something that hasn’t been done before and bringing community growth.”

The mayor said he hopes this will attract more people to want to live in the area of Wrightsville and provide endless growth.

“This could mean another chance at life in the pursuit of happiness,” Rainey said. “The American dream is to own a home and a business that is the pathway of wealth.”

Rainey said where the lots will be built is in an unincorporated area of the county and the closest cooperated city is Wrightsville, which is why everyone is excited about the potential growth it could mean.

Ray said the development is right off 12020 Hwy. 365 South in Little Rock which is close to Wrightsville. He said he expects the project to be complete in two and a half years, while Rainey said this is just the beginning of the growth that Wrightsville expects to see.