you know our downtown with cooperating and working directly with the downtown marchant's last year with the third Thursday project and having it six months out of the year.
We didn't know what it was going to be like, but golly that first third, Thursday, that we had downtown and somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people showed up.
We realized that there was going to be something huge.
It was going to affect the economy not only of our downtown merchants, but while we're citizens, the citizens poured out next thing.
You know the next third Thursday hey.
We had people here from Carlisle from Sheridan from Malone.
Oh, so not only did it affect our citizens with three or four our activity, but it affected the community because they come in and shop they come in and had a great time some of them actually decided in.
I don't know this for a fact.
A couple said: hey we want to move here, so it also increased our population.
So our third Thursday events was a huge success.
When you look at the big pep rally in August that we had - and there were 7,000 people wanted around downtown.
You know the food vendors, the 12 food vendors that showed up with the trucks they ran out of food every third Thursday, so golly what a great impact! Because if you don't have those kind of things bringing people into our town, then we don't have anything.
We want to show off our downtown, it is history, it is a part.
This town was created in the early 1800.
By guys, we got something special.
We got more in Benton to offer than any place in the state of Arkansas.
When you think about all these things, you think about our River, it's a hidden diamond, it's it's a diamond in the rough! So to speak, you look.
It looks like a piece of coal right now, but with our new plans and new things going forth, it's gonna be something great that everyone can proud of.
You'll be able to take your family down there, you'll be able to ride bicycles down there, you'll be able to walk on the nature.
Trail you'll be able to see the beauty of the saline River.
The saline rivers region Benton's here in the first place, you know I've always told the history was the Indians would travel up the saline river and trade salt trade furs for salt.
That's how we got our County named Saline County.
So you know we're gonna utilize that we need to take that piece of coal and make it a bright shining diamond by utilizing God's natural resources that we have here and as we look and we look what's happening on i30, with the expansion out towards Hot Springs and towards Maya, and that it makes it easier for people to get here yeah it's a little bit inconvenience right now, but it's gonna also help the growth when you think about exit 114 in a career technical education building coming in its gonna have Six different school districts out there it's going to provide a workforce for us that we couldn't otherwise get bye, guys the economy is fixing to burst around here with industry and other things.
People are already calling the same: hey when's that gonna start.
When are they going to start graduating? Can we get involved? My gosh things are excited we're gonna put a fire station out there.
Eventually, the school district has talked about.
You know they purchased a TA 88 acres out there and they're gonna go out there and do something big out there, because there's nowhere in the city limits right now the existing schools are busting at the seams.
We have a great school system.
We have a great thing to offer the people who come to Benton people move to towns for two reasons: number one: the schools, the quality of education, that students can get and number two the safety.
My gosh we've got the best fire department and Police Department in entire state of Arkansas this past year that crime went down in five different areas, because our police baton department is doing such a great job.
They're there they're doing what I call neighborhood patrol by getting to know the people and getting to be a part of the community.
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