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Bryant Working to Bring Small Town Feel Back to Growing Community

BRYANT, Ark. - One of the fastest growing communities in the state may become the poster child for economic development and revitalization. 

Jordan's Country Bar-B-Q has been serving up meals in downtown Bryant for almost 25 years. 

A staple in an area that's starting to change. 

"This town has definitely grown a lot," Jacob Miller, a cook at the restaurant said. 

Just outside the restaurant is evidence of the evolution of downtown. 

"I think they're on to some really good ideas and I think it's got a lot of potential," Jonathan Lupton, Senior Planner for Publications at Metroplan said. 

Lupton has been keeping his eye on the Saline County community since it received a Jump Start grant through Metroplan in 2014. 

"They want to get back to having small-town quality of life," Lupton said. 

Bryant has grown by 26.4% since 2010, but instead of encouraging suburban sprawl,  the small city is working to bring the beat back to the heart of town. 

"Some evidence shows that the cities in the country that are growing today are the ones that have these walkable districts and have a lot of options available that you don't have to get in traffic for," Lupton said. 

By pre-approving developers willing to re-develop the area, Bryant can keep its established infrastructure in place, like homes, roads and underground pipes. 

The city says the upgrades can save taxpayers money and help downtown meet its potential. 

"I think this is really at the head of a trend and I wouldn't be surprised if 20 years from now we're looking back and saying why didn't we get into this earlier?" Lupton said. 

Keeping what's good... 

"You got all of these businesses down here like us, we're waiting for them to come on down," Miller said. 

... And paving a way for better. 

Some changes are already underway like sidewalk expansions and some road improvements down Reynolds Rd. 

The city is planning a kick-start meeting at the end of the month with the community and Heart of Bryant project architects to help gather input and ideas. 

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