Gurdon Mayor Clayton Franklin said establishing a grocery store in Gurdon is the number one priority for 2013. "We have people working on it and a grocery store is the number one priority. We need to get a market in here," said Franklin who added that the old Rehkoph's building maybe too big for our town's needs.
The mayor had good things to say about one of the county's largest employers, Georgia Pacific. "Employment looks good at GP, the mill is going full blast and they maybe hiring in the future. The mill is covered up with logs and has about 650 employees and we've got about that many in the log woods. It looks solid." Economists said in September, 2012, that housing construction starts were up by 15 percent, the highest rate since July, 2008. New home sales have also increased by 15 percent in the last year. Both figures are good news for our local timber industry.
In 2011 the city acquired the old First National Bank building on Main Street and Franklin said improvements on the structure will be a focus this year. "We've got Toby Garner (a deputy for the city marshal's office) looking for grants for improvements to the building," said Franklin. Garner has been successful in obtaining grant for the marshal's office. Plans for the use of the building could include; a community room, chamber of commerce office or something else that would benefit the citizens.
The former service station on the corner of Highways 67 and 53 could also be a focus for 2013 according to the mayor.
"We would like to add another feature at the city park. We try to add something new to the playground each year," said Franklin, "Hopefully we will get the lake filled and fishing will start back up at the park." Work on the spillway was completed in 2012 and spring rains are expected to bring the water level up. When the lake reaches a level that can support a larger fish population, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will begin restocking with local species.
Franklin stated that the city will be receiving some new monies this year from the county millage increase and from the passage of Arkansas Ballot Issue Number One, which is a temporary sales and use tax of 0.5 percent that will be used for highways, bridges, roads and streets throughout the state.