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Riding the presidential wave.

Little Rock Economic Development Program Strives to Capitalize on Ties With Clinton



THE GREATER LITTLE Rock Chamber of Commerce is assembling a $3 million war chest for economic development to build on the favorable fallout from the Clinton presidency.

Pledges totaling more than $1.85 million already have rolled in to back the four-year effort, dubbed "Little Rock Now!"

And yes, the duration of the campaign is meant to coincide with Bill Clinton's term in the White House. Round two of the program would be in order should Clinton attain a second term.

"The Clinton presidency has focused national attention on Little Rock, repositioned the city in terms of industrial recruitment and opened doors that have never been open to us before," says Joe Swaty, director of Little Rock Now.

Fund-raising efforts are focused on a triad of sources: a 25 percent increase in chamber dues for smaller-business members; personal solicitation of peers by chamber Chairman Herschel Friday and top executives; and presentations to groups of mid-level size chamber businesses.

The economic push is made under the motto of "With Clinton as president, every second counts ... for Little Rock and Arkansas."

The Goals

Little Rock Now is envisioned to encourage expansion of existing businesses as well as recruiting new industry.

The program's top priorities are:

* maximizing the economic impact of Clinton's Arkansas office in Little Rock.

* facilitating the possible establishment of the future Presidential Library (to house Clinton's archives) in central Arkansas.

* capitalizing on the growing interest in Little Rock as a meeting and convention site by supporting efforts to expand the Statehouse Convention Center.

* boosting the local tourism industry by helping create a Clinton Museum exhibit inside the Old State House. (The number of visitors there has tripled because of worldwide publicity generated by the Clinton presidency.)

* producing new high-impact economic marketing collateral material and intensifying public relations efforts to maintain the positive publicity created by the Clinton presidency.

* exploring new areas of economic development with a focus on international marketing opportunities.

* creating goal-oriented task forces to take immediate action as other priorities develop.

* orchestrating targeted marketing blitzes during 1993 in major cities in the Midwest, north Midwest, Southwest, Northeast and West Coast.

Little Rock boosters are confident that random chance had nothing to do with the good things that came to the states where previous presidents called home.

Examples include: Harry Truman, extensive expansion of McDonnell Aircraft Co. in St. Louis; John Kennedy, the Massachusetts Miracle of high-tech industries; Lyndon Johnson, NASA in Houston, high-tech industries in Austin, Texas, and numerous federal offices in Dallas; Richard Nixon, Silicon Valley in California; Jimmy Carter, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta; Ronald Reagan, 20 percent of Department of Defense hardware spending to California; and George Bush, the superconducting super collider project in Texas.

The Greater Little Rock Chamber is making a move to help history repeat itself. The possible economic consequences for central Arkansas have many full of hope.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Journal Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Industry Report; Little Rock, Arkansas economic development
Author:Waldon, George
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Apr 12, 1993
Previous Article:Attracting industry.
Next Article:Building for the long haul.

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