WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The City of West Memphis and Southland Casino have a partnership that is more profitable than ever, and they’re putting the new money to work for the children.
Five parks around the city are receiving almost $11 million in new equipment and renovations, and it all comes with zero cost to taxpayers.
“Every year since 2007 when they opened up, business has increased and our taxes have increased," City Treasurer Frank Martin said. "Thanks to this new formula, it’s going to double.”
The extra money is going to improve five parks across West Memphis, including new baseball and softball fields, new pools and a new amphitheater. City officials are hopeful that along with improving quality of life for residents, the new fields can host youth sports tournaments for teams across the region, leading to even more business and growth.
“It’s gonna allow us to be able to make sure that our sports complexes are really attractive, to bring in additional funds," West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon said. "Tournaments come here, they stay here, they eat here, they buy here, so it’s going to be great for West Memphis.”
“Teams coming in, play and staying, softball and hardball, boys and girls," Martin said. "It’s a great opportunity for the local kids, and it’s a great opportunity for tourism as well.”
The referendum ear-marking this money has already been passed by city council and the mayor’s office and approved by Southland.
“We all do what’s best for our citizens here in West Memphis," McClendon said. "We understand it’s not about the Mayor, it’s not about the Council, it’s about the people that we represent. We all live here in West Memphis and love West Memphis and want to see West Memphis move forward.”
Now, there is one more step in the process. Voters in West Memphis need to approve the referendum. It will be up for a vote Dec. 10.