"I've lived here my entire life. In that time I've seen this town go from being a dirt road to the biggest town is Izard County," said new Horseshoe Bend Mayor Bob Barnes. "I want to be a part of that growth.
Barnes, who was sworn into office Jan. 1, said his desire to help Horseshoe Bend prosper is what sparked his interest in running for mayor. "There's no status quo; you grow or you die," he said.
Though Barnes says he is determined to help the city progress, he does realize that some citizens are concerned with the thought of the town growing.
"This was started as a retirement community, and I want to keep that -- I want to keep our laid-back lifestyle," Barnes said. "What I want is growth within Horseshoe Bend."
Barnes said his goal is to attract new businesses, which will provide new opportunities for residents and improve the city's overall economy.
He said he wants the people of Horseshoe Bend to be able to make money in the city and spend money in the city instead of taking their business outside of the area. "That will be better for Horseshoe Bend and better for the people," he said.
Barnes, who owns and operates B&B Supply with his brother Bill, said he can handle the challenge. He said his experiences with his family business have equipped him with some of the skills he needs to be mayor.
"Running a city is a business; I understand how a business operates," he said. "And in my own business, through the years, I've had the opportunity to establish connections with people all over the state. In that way I feel I can be an asset to the city."
Barnes said besides portraying Horseshoe Bend as a retirement community, he wants people outside of the area to recognize the town as a vacation spot.
"We have one of the greatest places to offer in northeast Arkansas. We have three lakes, mountains the golf course, and I don't care what anyone says, there's not a more beautiful sight than being on Turkey Mountain right as the sun sets," he said. "If we will utilize what we have ... we have a great source to generate outside revenue."
Barnes said through his years as a business owner, he has learned one undeniable fact that will help him throughout his term as mayor. "I've come to realize the only thing I can totally control is my attitude," he said. "Moods rub off, so I always try to be positive. Being upbeat will create a better environment -- you know, happiness can be infectious."