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    North Little Rock Mayor Hays looks back

    7:30 PM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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    North Little Rock mayor Patrick Hays. (Photo: City of NLR)

    NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- With a tenure of 24 years in office, North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays has stayed busy.

    The Mayor sat down with THV to talk about how he was able to make these visions a reality.

    He said it's all about community effort, and making the city a place where families want to live.

    "You never stop. The one thing that happens when you've got your momentum. You're going to have some potholes that will get in the way, that you're going to have to fill. But you never stop," Mayor Hays said. 

    Goals such as the Verizon Arena, Dickey-Stephens Park, the Inland Maritime Museum, the biking and walking trails just to name a few accomplishments over nearly a quarter-century in office.

    The Hays Senior Center, named after the Mayor, is a center that many places across the country use as a model.

    "We've got a senior center that has a higher daily attendance than any other senior center in the country. 750 people on average in a day use that facility," Hays said.

    He is a mayor proud of his town and of the businesses, new and old.

    "Creegans , a genuine Irish pub. We've got several furniture stores. You don't have to want something to find something in Galaxy Furniture. But then you've got the restaurants that started coming in. Argenta Drug is the oldest, continuous, operating drug store west of the Mississippi," Mayor Hays said.

    It's about the community, he added, families being involved and dedicated that give projects their soul.

    "it's just staying at it. It's staying at an overall vision. And having partners that are willing to buy into it, support it. The taxpayers with several votes have been a very active part of it," said Hays.

    As for advice for the next mayor of North Little Rock:

    "Certainly put your own stamp on whatever you decide to do. Listen to folks. Dream big and recognize that it's not going to happen overnight, but if you keep at it you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish," Mayor Hays said. 

    These accomplishments, made possible through "smart, shared investments" like the trolley.

    "It's a lot easier when you've got Little Rock, North Little Rock, and the County, because you can get things like this for 20 percent of a third," Hays said.

    And when asked about a single greatest accomplishment during his 24 years in office, Mayor Hays said it is difficult to name one.

    "It's all a part of a warmth that people feel when they are a part of a sense of community. And there are so many parts of that, there can't be any one thing that is, or will be in the future. It's got to be an ongoing desire that people like each other, want to be around each other and they want to help...both with the celebrations and problems that folks have," Mayor Hays said.

    When asked what he intended to do after leaving office, he said, "I don't intend to stop. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do, but I don't intend to stop."

    His successor has yet to be elected. A runoff election is set to take place November 27th. 

    Twitter: @BuhrmanM

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