Next July, Jonesboro is expected to have a hotel and convention center open. It will be on the campus of Arkansas State University. Jonesboro is very similar to Springfield, Missouri. Comparisons were made between the two cities during last week’s groundbreaking ceremony. Tim O’Reilly is with O’Reilly Hospitality Management, which is making the project possible. O’Reilly says this project is a big deal for Jonesboro because of the economic impacts that will open up to the city that have not been in Jonesboro before. He uses Springfield as an example.
“We don’t have a large convention center in Springfield, so Jonesboro will be ahead of the curve in that,” says O’Reilly. “The economic impact of hotels and convention centers we have seen in other cities is huge. It allows the center to be the centerpiece between the University and the city.”
Mike Downing is Vice President of Economic Development with Jonesboro Unlimited.
“Springfield is similar in size and there are a lot of features that both Jonesboro and Springfield have,” says Downing. “About 20 years ago, Springfield wanted to merge a lot of activities with the university there and it is great to see something like that happening here. This can help in recruiting and retaining talent.”
He says the hotel and convention center is an important piece to the economic development of Jonesboro because of the conventions, conferences, family reunions and other events. It will also be able to compete with convention centers in other areas of the region:
“We think this will compete favorably because a lot of conventions want to rotate cities and this center will be an attractive facility that will bring in a lot of people to Jonesboro.”