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jonesboro's biggest wish list
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Guest

With all the excitement surrounding the recent opening of Jonesboro’s new Kroger Marketplace, I began thinking about other items on my wish list for the city.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate what we already have – exactly the opposite. I am in awe of how Jonesboro has grown in recent years. I’m constantly amazed at the new ways individuals, businesses and industry are choosing to invest here.

Still, we all have certain things that we would like to see added to or improved in our hometown. Here are a few items on my list:

More restaurants that stay open past 10 p.m. on the weekends. If you are thinking about catching a movie or a ballgame followed by dinner on a Friday or Saturday night, options are limited. I hope you like fast food.

A city-owned aquatic center with a 50-meter pool. Jonesboro has had many talented swimmers over the years, but most people don’t realize that the Jets Aquatic Team is a team without a home. During fall, winter and spring, the team sometimes has to hold practice sessions at three separate pools across the city. None of those pools are city owned.

Parks of all shapes and sizes. A dog park, a park that can accommodate outdoor concerts, parks with zip lines, water features, an ice skating rink, walking tracks, bike lanes, concessions and equipment rental (paddleboats, bikes, kayaks, etc.).

More retail/entertainment venues for downtown. I love Jonesboro’s downtown area and served on the Downtown Jonesboro Association board for several years. I hope to see a day when it offers such an amazing mix of restaurants, retail, parks and entertainment that you can easily spend an entire day downtown doing more than eating and drinking.

While thinking about the items on my list, I decided to use social media to ask friends and colleagues what items are on their wish list for the city. Based on the response, I’m not the only one who maintains a personal wish list for Jonesboro. From fairly simple requests such as a dog park and sidewalks to big-ticket items like a minor league baseball team, people were overflowing with
suggestions. I attempted to include as many items as possible by grouping the list into categories:

Downtown: Multi-level parking garage; hotel; an upgraded theater at The Forum with wing space to welcome Broadway productions; an Arts Center for The Foundation of Arts that is large enough to house a ballet company.

Parks/Recreation/Entertainment: Dog park, water park, aquatic center with 50-meter pool, sidewalks, bike lanes, running trail around the circumference of Jonesboro; arcade; a children’s museum; outdoor ice skating rink; zoo; a river with rafts; more entertainment venues for children such as additional miniature
golf courses, more bowling and climbing centers; trampoline park; revitalized or new skating rink; walking tracks; water fountains in public areas; minor league baseball team, city-owned and operated multi-purpose neighborhood facilities including pools; long distance paved walking and bike path; city-owned event/
convention center.

Restaurants/food venues: Dunkin Donuts, Jason’s Deli, Hooters Restaurant, Pei Wei. P.F. Chang’s, Applebee’s, Whataburger, Raising Cane’s, Purple Cow, The Cheesecake Factory, Gus’s Fried Chicken, Red Robin, a French restaurant,
Dave & Buster’s, a Mediterranean restaurant, Mellow Mushroom, more restaurants with healthy food options/gluten free options; brewery.

Retail: World Market, Home Goods, Macy’s, Steinmart, Fresh Market, Apple Store, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, H&M, Ann Taylor, cigar store, more options for adult women’s clothing such as The Limited or Loft.

And last, but certainly not least, one Jonesboro resident ended her post with a request that stretches far beyond the city limits: “A community acupuncture center, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, a labyrinth, a brewery, more local places to eat with GOOD healthy food and maybe gluten-free options, more community events, more biking lanes, walking trails, climbing gym, more atmosphere
at restaurants, a legendary venue – oh, and world peace.”

What an amazing list! Thanks for your feedback, Jonesboro. It will be fun to see what we get to cross off our collaborative wish list next.