Residents Optimistic About Growth With New Development

JOHNSON (KFSM)-- The city of Johnson has been working closely with the developers of the new Johnson Square project that has many residents excited about what the future holds.

Ward Davis is the principal for High Street Real Estate & Development, the developers of Johnson Square.

For the past two and a half  years, he and his team have been working on providing a space for restaurants, businesses and homes.

Before this though, one life long resident said Johnson wasn't really a place where you stopped.

“Johnson has been a pass-through town," Johnson resident Ashley Dunford said. "Let’s just say we would prefer to be either Springdale or Fayetteville, but maybe it’s going to make its own way with this new stuff going on."

Dunford is just one person who is looking forward to this new area.

Owner of In at the Mill, Jesse Burkes, agreed with Dunford and embraced this project wholeheartedly.

He said he never expected to see Johnson grow this much since he got involved with the old mill.

Dunford explained she thought this would be good for Johnson and even suggested some of the things she would like to see in the new neighborhood.

“I heard that they are going to do a lot of neighborhoods and that’s going to bring some families into the area, hopefully," Dunford said. "I heard they were going to make a business square. So maybe some doctors, some chiropractors, nurses whatever that may entail. Retail, that will be really nice for us.”

There is still a lot of work to be done.

Davis said it could be another seven years before the entire project is complete.

They plan to start construction on a new building early October and work on housing is scheduled to start at the beginning of the next year.

“With developments, especially larger scale developments, it seems to be a monument to the developer," Davis said. "We don’t want Johnson Square to be that way. We want it to be much more a function of the people who live here and work here and play in the neighborhood.”

High Street is taking suggestions, like Dunford's, on what people would like to see in the new area.

Davis said suggestions can be made on the Johnson Square website.

Johnson Mayor Chris Keeney said the city has a plan for their future and Johnson Square fits in that plan.

He said they hope this project will help the city with any future growth.