East Ark commercial projects booming

FORREST CITY (Times-Herald) - In what may be a record-setting year, the value of projects receiving building permits in Forrest City have more than doubled last year's, with a month still left in the year.

The total value of projects permitted in November was $971,270, bringing the year's total through November to $15,294,823.15. The total for all of last year was $6,813.354.78.

"We've been extremely busy," said Connie Muqtasid, city building inspector. "All I can say is, with the StoneBrook subdivision and other projects, we are seeing a lot of construction going on."

She said a small part of the increase could be because contractors are being reminded they need to get permits before doing certain kinds of work.

Mayor Larry Bryant, while saying he is glad to see all the construction, refused to take personal credit, saying it is "cyclical."

"It just happens. We have a bad year and we have a good year," said Bryant. "We just happen to be fortunate to have a lot of construction projects. I can't take credit for these things happening. They're cyclical."

Bryant mentioned the StoneBrook Subdivision, but also mentioned the Holiday Inn Express, the new St. Francis County Food Pantry building, the expansion at Core-Mark (Forrest City Grocery) and a new building for Pediatric Dentistry as some examples of what has happened in Forrest City this year. He said he couldn't say the trend would continue.

"Next year could be better, but it will be very difficult to top what has happened in 2012," said Bryant. "We can hope the economy will turn around and a couple of businesses will open that will help us with our sales tax base."

The largest single permit in November was for a renovation at the Forrest City School's central office in the old Stewart School complex, with a value of $841,000.

Interim superintendent Joye Hughes said the project is for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

"This was the next building on the state partnership list, and we still do have some classes over here," she said.

Other permitted commercial projects and their value include: A sign at Food Giant, 2307 N. Washington, $32,500; a sign for Circle N Exxon at 940 E. Broadway, $27,400; repairs at First National Bank of Eastern Arkansas, $24,500; roofing at Papa Jim's Diner, 2424 E. Broadway, $650 and repairs at Pro File America tax service, 419 E. Front, $420.

Residential projects receiving permits included two renovations, one decking project, one addition and one roofing project.

Click here for more news from the Forrest City Times-Herald