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Pocahontas Experiences Growth; Housing Needs Continue


  In the two years since Peco Foods started operations in northeast Arkansas, one northeast Arkansas town has seen an explosion of growth.  Pocahontas has seen an influx of people coming to the town to work at Peco.  The last Census numbers show that Pocahontas has a population of 6,800…but Mayor Kary Story thinks that number now is close to 8,500..and growing.  Story says when Peco announced they were coming to Randolph County in 2014, a plan was put in place to start building housing.

“We created new zones in our city that helped with expediting the process of building living quarters in Pocahontas,” said Story.

He tells how many developers started working on the project.

“At least five developers came in and started building apartment complexes and some homes that are for rent, thanks to the rezoning laws.”

Numerous development projects and apartment complexes are in town now, and several people have come in to flip homes for use.

“That is still taking place and we love it because it takes old properties that were unsightly and makes them livable properties,” said Story.

Story says that kind of work is continuing in the town because there is still a need for more housing in Pocahontas.  He says the amount of sales tax revenue has gone up considerably since the 2014 announcement.  Story says when comparing sales tax revenue then to today, there is at least a one-million-dollar increase.  He says a lot of the new people that have come in are Marshallese.  An event will take place Saturday to provide details to the Marshallese about services and other city-related information.

Johnathan Reaves is the News Director for KASU Public Radio. As part of an Air Force Family, he moved to Arkansas from Minot, North Dakota in 1986. He was first bitten by the radio bug after he graduated from Gosnell High School in 1992. While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked at KOSE, a small 1,000 watt AM commercial station in Osceola, Arkansas. Upon graduation from Arkansas State University in 1996 with a degree in Radio-Television Broadcast News, he decided that he wanted to stay in radio news. He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas and worked for East Arkansas Broadcasters as news director and was there for 16 years.