LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. addressed the 2023 “State of the City” Monday evening with plans for a new sales tax proposal and a focus on growing Little Rock.
Mayor Scott addressed the accomplishments and needs of Little Rock at Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School. Scott said that the state of the city is better than it’s ever been, strong and bright.
Scott announced, “Little Rock Forward”, a new sales tax initiative to work toward growing the city by revitalizing public spaces like War Memorial Park and Hindman Park and expanding the footprint at the Little Rock port to attract even more jobs. The initiative would also upgrade public safety facilities and equipment and improve critical infrastructure.
He also spoke of intentions toward having a state-of-the-art multi-sport complex.
He went on to point out that Little Rock was named number one in job growth by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. Scott said more than 9,000 jobs have grown since 2019, with 739 new jobs added in 2022 alone. Scott said that the Little Rock Port continues to be a prime location for job growth in the city.
Mayor Scott then pointed out new commercial development that has grown into the Little Rock landscape, with businesses such as Main Event and Whataburger broadening the city’s future.
Scott said that the city has allocated $1.5 million for a downtown master plan toward a strategic reimagining of the downtown area and a call to downtown business owners and residents to make immediate improvements.
Mayor Scott said he intends for the city to compete with other cities to become a hub for start-ups, entrepreneurs, and young professionals. He stated that he is working to help shape Little Rock as a “Silicon South” by expanding Little Rock Tech Park and investing in tech infrastructure to support entrepreneurs from all around.
He also stated that with the city recently awarded $2 million from the Dept. of Transportation, a planned deck park connecting 6th Street to 9th Street over Interstate 30 will begin to bridge neighborhoods destroyed by highway placement decades ago.
Another milestone the mayor pointed out was the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts’ upcoming reopening in April.
Mayor Scott said work will begin over the next 10 years to update and transform all playgrounds in the city to be more inclusive with upgraded equipment.
When it comes to energy, Scott said that Little Rock should be a leader in identifying ways to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and decrease overall energy usage, all while saving money for residents.
He said the city will complete a greenhouse gas inventory and adopt a sustainable action plan for operations. Scott said it is a goal for at least 50 percent of the city’s fleet to be electric vehicles by 2030.
Mayor Scott said that a more than $2 million investment into community intervention programs aimed at keeping young people off the street and engaged in activities to grow who they are as an approach to violence reduction.
Scott also made a call toward policies and programs for more impoverished areas – south of I-630 and east of I-30 – by reinvesting and redevelopment to assist people in at-risk neighborhoods. He said after announcing last year’s goal of developing 100 new affordable housing units by 2025, that the city is on track to surpass that goal.
He said his administration is also planning to address unsheltered people in Little Rock with a micro home village o provide housing within the community.
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