After an EF-3 tornado ripped through northeast Arkansas, officials in Craighead County and Jonesboro are assessing the damage wrought by the natural disaster. A clear dollar amount has yet to be determined, but city and county officials estimate that the damage will be in the nine-figure range.
Both Jonesboro Director of Communications Bill Campbell and Craighead County Judge Marvin Day have estimated that the total damage will be above $100 million. “We have not gotten any credible guesses on the total dollar amount, but it’s pretty easy to see that it’s going to be at least $200 or $300 million worth of property damage,” Day said.
According to Day, there have been more than 600 homes in the area damaged as a result of the tornado.
More than 140 Jonesboro residences have been destroyed in some capacity, according to figures provided by Campbell. Of that total, 114 of the residences suffered major damage, 390 had minor damage, 56 were affected by damage to sheds or had trees down and 20 were rendered inaccessible.
More than 60 planes, as well as the terminal, were damaged at the local airport.
Jonesboro’s business community has been heavily affected by the tornado. Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Mark Young said that more than 100 businesses have been impacted by the disaster. The retail, restaurant and service industries were especially hard hit, and the damage was heavily concentrated – but not limited – to the area surrounding the Turtle Creek Mall.
Some businesses, Young said, have already jumped back into action after making repairs to their buildings or finding alternate locations. The Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce is also working to ensure that businesses have access to lending and banking services, as well as a slate of local, state, regional and federal resources.
“What we’re trying to do with those 100-plus businesses is to reach out to each and every one of them to check on them, to see how they’re doing, to check on their employees and to also see the kind of resources they might need,” Young said.
The tornado is likely to have long-term effects for the county in terms of property tax revenues. Day said that the county will be unable to collect property taxes on the damaged properties, which will lower the revenues for next year. This will not have a major impact on the county as a whole but will be a hit for local schools.
However, the rebuilding process could be an economic boost for the region. As homes and businesses are rebuilt in the area, there will be an increase in sales tax revenue, Day said. One of the biggest impacts will be job creation in construction, which could be a boost in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re going to figure this out and we’ll be stronger on the back side of it,” Day said.
But with no deaths and just 22 injuries, city officials consider themselves lucky.
“If I’ve ever witnessed a miracle, this is it,” Mayor Harold Perrin said.
Amazon Headed to Port of LR
‘The Port of Little Rock is getting a major new resident – Amazon. The Little Rock Board of Directors approved an ordinance allowing the Little Rock Port Authority to enter into an agreement with the online retailer.
Amazon is acquiring an 80-acre tract of land on Zeuber Road at the port in Little Rock. The deal, which was signed with a Delaware holding company, is worth $3.2 million.
“We are grateful this is just going to show how we will continue to rebuild our city,” Little Rock Frank Scott Jr. said.
Details on the new port project are limited. According to Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Jay Chessir, Amazon has requested that details about the project not be released until the project is completed.
Amazon signed a 10-year lease for property at 2401 Interstate 30, according to a national real-estate research service.
In 2018, Amazon opened a new concept distribution center in North Little Rock for last-mile deliveries.