The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Jordan Heads To Washington, Announces Economic Summit
By Skip Descant
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE -- Call it ticking off another campaign promise. Or following in the footsteps of his predecessor. But Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan announced Tuesday his economic summit, a four-day community conference will be March 31 to April 4, except for April Fool's Day.
Jordan also announced travel plans at Tuesday's City Council agenda session. With Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce President Steve Clark at his side, Jordan heads to Washington today on his first official trip as mayor to meet with the state's Congressional delegation and the city's Washington lobbying arm Van Scoyoc and Associates. The $100,000 a year annual contract is up for renewal.
But before going forward, the mayor says he'd like to get a firmer picture of what a new presidential administration and the recent economic stimulus package passed by Congress will mean for cities such as Fayetteville.
"I want to go to Washington and meet with them and get a feel for what they're doing," Jordan told the council. "I hate to commit to another $100,000 contract before we meet and see what they will provide."
The economic summit, which the administration has termed "Fayetteville Forward," is a much-mentioned campaign talking point. Jordan said he wanted a plan in place in his first 90 days. The ice storm slowed down that process.
The $39,500 city summit hopes to build on work accomplished several months ago by Eva Klein and Associates, an economic consulting firm jointly contracted by the city and the University of Arkansas. The Jordan administration has said tapping local experts is a central tenet of Fayetteville Forward.
"Instead of relying on a lot of outside expertise, we're relying on the expertise we have," said Michele Halsell, who served on Jordan's transition team, and who focused specifically on how the administration should develop an economic development strategy.
An ongoing and immediate concern for residents is storm debris pickup. The city Web site now has an interactive map, updated daily with streets covered and streets scheduled, said Don Marr, chief of staff for Mayor Jordan. Some 39,000 cubic yards of debris have been picked up in the couple days since the contracted debris removal teams began work.
"They're doing in a day what we could do in a week," said Terry Gulley, transportation director for Fayetteville.
Up-to-the-minute information on debris pickup: