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Fort Smith
Sunday, July 14, 2024

We Built This City

Arkansas River Valley Business Directory

Article by Jack James
There was a great discussion on the Facebook page “If You Ever Lived In Fort Smith” about progress.  Two sides were discussing the pros and cons of change in their community.  They brought up ideas that business and families were established in Northwest Arkansas instead of Western Arkansas because the politicians in charge, backed by a few well-established entrepreneurs who didn’t want this area to grow.  Some believe that this group would keep the River Valley in the Eisenhower Era if they could swing it while good jobs in industry and technology found more favorable waters up in the north.
Being a bedroom community in the Fort Smith metropolitan area, the discussion is one that affects us.  Many of our jobs, our careers and our shopping are in the businesses in the big city.  I have always wanted the big boys, the money ‘muckidy mucks’ to put the river front to good use.  A wharf and boardwalk on the bank of the Arkansas River would be such a draw to our area.  Put a couple of restaurants and clubs in it and watch it draw folks, especially with the Marshal’s Museum planned just next door.  Secure a paddle boat, the type from the antebellum days of the old Mississippi River, and provide music and refreshments as it travels from the Garrison Bridge to the Van Buren port and back.
My problem is that I have Lincoln Continental ideas with a Lincoln penny budget. Yes, I am an idea man.  Problem is that the pay is horrible. After researching my family history back almost five hundred years, I discovered something quite disturbing; I come from a long line of poor.  It is useless for any of my line to be putting on the dog, so to speak.  Empty pockets are hereditary in our line with few blooms of true success on the family tree.
But I am blessed!  I have a house.  It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  I have transportation.  I have a full stomach (over full is more like it).  My wife and sons are healthy and relatively well-adjusted. I can worship my God as I please.  I don’t live in fear for my life and I am free.  I read where a person like me is better off than more than 98% of the world’s population.  How blessed are we?
This is why I play the lottery.  Now, I believe God has told me that I will never win because being wealthy might ruin the salvation of my family and me for possible generations.  But maybe, just maybe, if I tell you all the plans that I have for this community, maybe He’ll give me a break to see if I can really spend the funds wisely.  Well, even a man with a pocket full of pennies can dream!

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