SPRINGDALE -- The Chamber of Commerce will try to bring in more than 3,700 jobs and millions of dollars in payroll to the city through an initiative called Ignite Springdale.
Chamber officials announced the program Tuesday at a meeting in downtown Springdale. The program will stretch over four years with a $2.6 million investment by the chamber, said Lisa Ray, chairwoman of the chamber's board.
By The Numbers
Ignite Springdale Goals
• Jobs directly created: 3,750
• Jobs indirectly created: 2,631
• Total payroll created: $200 million
• Personal income: $150 million
• Disposable personal income: $137 million
Source: Springdale Chamber of Commerce
The program has four goals: growing technology businesses, retention and expansion of businesses, work force training for business needs and restoring the pride in being a Springdale resident, Ray said.
The chamber has raised about $1.4 million needed for the program, said Perry Webb, chamber president and chief executive officer.
"We are using no tax money and no foundation money," Webb said. "This is all businesses stepping up and building a better place."
The future of Springdale and downtown is exciting, said Brenda Rouse, who works downtown and attended the announcement.
"We have our identity down," Rouse said. "We've had problems with that in the past, but now everyone seems to be on board."
The work that led to the plan began after the 2007 City Future II meeting the chamber sponsored at Mount Magazine, Webb said. It started taking shape 14 to 16 months ago, with a big push beginning about six months ago.
The positive momentum gained by the movement to revitalize downtown allowed the Ignite Springdale program to gain traction, Webb said.
Downtown Springdale Alliance raised the money to demolish two buildings and close a street to create space for a park on Emma Avenue, Ray said. The group used $100,000 from the chamber as matching money for an grant from the Endeavor Foundation, she said.
The Razorback Greenway, a 26-mile trail running from Fayetteville to Bentonville, will go through the park.
The greenway will play a large role in the fourth goal, restoring pride in the city, Webb said. Part of that goal is to encourage more professionals and executives to live in the community.
Training the work force will parallel recent state changes in their training model, Webb said. Training needs to be responsive to the needs of employers, he said.
The technology goal includes bringing six technology businesses to the city, which will create 250 jobs with average salaries of $57,000 to $92,000, according to a news release. Those companies would bring a $4.8 million technology investment to the city's economy.
"We are on the cutting edge of where we need to be," said Mayor Doug Sprouse.
The goal to retain and expand businesses include 15 expansions or new business locations that would employ 1,150 in manufacturing and create 600 professional and 1,000 retail or commercial jobs.
"Momentum has been gained across the board," Webb said. "The stars are aligning."
A few years ago, Webb discussed with the City Council about how to measure the success of initiatives.
"I said success can be measured by the number of jobs created and the amount of sales tax generated," Webb said. "I think those will grow directly through this initiative."
NW News on 06/18/2014
Print Headline: Chamber Announces Business Growth Initiative