Since Terry Hartwick was first elected Mayor of North Little Rock in 1984, he’s had a consistent vision for the city – to make it and downtown better.
There’s been some notable swings, and misses, in those times, like, say, the basketball arena and concert venue in Baring Cross, but Hartwick has worked hard to improve North Little Rock.
First as mayor then as head of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and then back as mayor again.
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In the interregnum, Mayor Pat Hays executed some of Hartwick’s original vision but with some tweaks, like what was then Alltel Arena at its current location, and the no one anticipated Dickey-Stephens Park just down the street.
Hays and Hartwick, along with former Mayor Joe Smith all had one overarching goal – move the Greyhound Station out of downtown North Little Rock.
It was, in fact, a campaign promise made by Harwtick when he sought the mayor’s office in 2020, decades after he first held it, that getting Greyhound out was a top priority.
Promises made, promises kept, as the saying goes, as that what happened in September 2022 when demolition began and Hartwick said the property on Washington Avenue was being cleared out to, “make way for future developments in the downtown area.”
Fast forward to now, and that property is on Monday night’s City Council meeting agenda to be sold to developer Kal Makan of Makan Hospitality Management for the not insignificant sum of $625,650.
The Makans own a hotel in North Little Rock with others in Little Rock and Russellville. The company has already announced plans for a 14-story hotel that would include condo space, a restaurant and space that could be used for conventions and other large meetings.
It is big. It is bright. It is shiny.
Thing is, there’s been all manner of proposed developments for downtown North Little Rock that haven’t come to fruition.
Like, the big, bright and shiny hotel and convention center that would have been built adjacent to the Wyndham Riverfront at the site of the former,and long demolished furniture store that’s now a gravel parking lot.
On the other hand, there’s also been some notable wins with new developments on the Brownfield site by Dickey-Stephens Park along with new residential complexes scattered across downtown.
Time will tell, as they say but Hartwick’s persistent vision for North Little Rock remains.