We live in paradise, those of us lucky enough to call Little Rock home. Don't believe it? Read an account of the city by Mayor Mark Stodola, who filed today for re-election as the city's first "strong" mayor.
The mayor forgot to mention the city's school district, which the taxpayer-subsidized and publicly unaccountable Chamber of Commerce thinks is so crappy it's trying to destroy it.
LITTLE ROCK—Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, joined by his wife, Jo Ellen, and family, filed for re-election on Wednesday. Recalling the pledges made during his successful 2006 campaign, Stodola said the city had dramatically reduced crime rates and brought thousands of new jobs and more than $750 million in new economic capital investment to the city.
“During my first campaign for Mayor, we focused on public safety, economic development, and quality of life issues for the people of our city,” said Stodola. “We have made tremendous progress over the past four years and I hope to continue leading Little Rock forward on our path to becoming a great Southern city.”
Stodola credits a focus on reducing crime rates and increasing the number of firefighters for a dramatic improvement in public safety. Since he took office, the city has seen a staggering 50% decrease in homicides and a 33% decrease in violent crime. During a second term, Stodola said he would continue his work to make Little Rock a safer place to live, including completion of the Midtown police substation and a west Little Rock fire station both currently under construction.
“With a dramatic drop in crime rates across the city—especially violent crimes—Mayor Stodola’s investment in quality police work has paid off,” said Joe Busby, president of the Fair Park Residents Association. “Little Rock is safer now for our children, families, and seniors. With Mayor Stodola’s leadership, we will continue to make progress towards a better future.”
Stodola’s collaboration with state and local organizations to bring new jobs and economic development to the city has produced more than 3,690 new jobs with an annual payroll of $153 million, and more than $750 million in new capital investment to the city. In 2009, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Little Rock’s economy the fourth strongest in the nation1, ahead of most our peer cities, signaling marked stability during a period of wide-spread economic uncertainty.
“Mark Stodola has worked tirelessly as mayor to attract new businesses that have put thousands of our citizens to work,” Joey Dean, Executive Director of the Metro Little Rock Alliance, said. “With a primed workforce, ready infrastructure and Mayor Stodola leading us forward, Little Rock will continue to be an economic engine for Arkansas.”
Under Stodola’s leadership, Little Rock was awarded a competitive grant of $8.6 million for housing rehabilitation targeted toward many of the city’s distressed Midtown neighborhoods. He has also leveraged federal Recovery and Reinvestment dollars to improve the I-430/I-630 interchange, build the new west Little Rock fire station and improve some 13,000 feet of sidewalks.
The city recently embarked on a dramatic transformation of War Memorial Park in Midtown as part of more than $6.75 million worth of long-term investments in public parks and athletic facilities across the city including soccer fields in west Little Rock. During his second term, Stodola said he would continue to find creative ways to fund more improvement projects throughout the city.
Mark Stodola and his wife, Jo Ellen, have 3 children, Allison, Robert and John Mark. Before his election as mayor in 2006, Stodola served as City Attorney and Prosecuting Attorney for the 6th District and was a senior partner at Catlett & Stodola, PLC. During his first term as mayor, Stodola has fought to reduce crime, attract new industry and jobs to the city and improve the quality of life of Little Rock citizens through improvements to our parks and recreation facilities.