I’ve worked over the past 11 years to help build stronger small businesses in Little Rock and across the state.
Small local business is the lifeblood of the city. They provide good jobs, create a strong tax base, and help influence economic growth in other industries.
Unfortunately, right now Little Rock is not seen as a business-friendly city. I want to change that, and make us a place businesses want to set up and grow.
Advocate for Businesses
As City Director the best thing I can be is a business’ advocate at city hall. If a new business wants to locate to the area, I will be there for them every step of the way helping the business to navigate city processes and stand up for them if any delays occur. Too often businesses get lost in confusing and often changing requirements from the city costing hundreds of thousands of dollars before they are even able to open.
Secondly, for existing businesses, I want to be the first point of contact for any needs they have of the city, and check in frequently to see how the city can help their business grow and thrive. It is important for the City Director to take ownership of the overall health of the businesses in their area, allowing good businesses to grow.
Thoughtful Approach to Zoning, Ordinances, and Variances
Every time the city approaches zoning and ordinances related to businesses they need to consider the overall impact of existing and future businesses. I want to make sure those decisions are made carefully, with the best interest of businesses in mind. I also want to work with existing businesses to see what local zoning and ordinance changes are needed to help them thrive.
When dealing with a predominately downtown business district, it is also important to be aware that not all city wide policies make sense for a denser urban area. I want to take a thoughtful and often proactive approach to help businesses understand variance options and advocate for changes that make sense in city hall.
Clarity in Permit Processes
I want to streamline the city permit office to allow future business owners, owners expanding, and businesses that deal with construction to have a clear path from start to finish. There are too many conflicting voices, overlapping duties, and unnecessary requirements for businesses to get started.
Local, City, and Regional Planning
Finally, we have to have a clear direction for where we are going as an area, a city, and an overall central Arkansas region. Areas that thrive have clear visions of progress and a shared public-private road map of how to get there.
I want to work with local developers and urban planning thought leaders to build a vision for where Ward 1 can go. I want to encourage other Little Rock wards to do the same and work together to create a plan for where we are going as a city, and how each unique area fits into the overall plan. Finally, I want to develop a Central Arkansas Coalition to form a shared vision for where we are going as a region, how each area plays a key role, and how we can all help each other get there.