Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hammons rides again

Here’s a story for you. John Q. Hammons has surfaced again. He is the hotel magnate from Springfield, Missouri who goes around building big convention centers. He’s good at it. There is an especially fine one in Springdale and another in Little Rock.

There might have been one in Jonesboro but folks got all spooked about paying for part of it. Hammons likes the local folk to get emotionally committed, and that is smart. I think Jonesboro will be kicking itself for a long time to come over that one.

The latest site of a proposed Hammons development is near I-40 in Russellville. The city would buy the land for about $6 million and Hammons would spend $40 million. It’s a good deal, especially when you figure that the tax to pay for this is already being collected and will still be used, in part, for local street improvements and such.

There is, of course, a hitch. Pope County is dry and Hammons needs a liquor license to proceed. What is the point of attending a convention if you can’t have a little toddy? If the liquor is a “no go” so is John Q. There was a club once at the same site, so it may sneak in that way.

This is not a super-project, but will create lots of jobs. There will probably be an election in June.

(Broadcast April 16, 2007)

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