Like many people who move to Bryant, Mayor Jill Dabbs – long before she sat at the city’s helm – quickly became immersed in the community through school and sports activities. In 2000, the ever-growing city became home to her family, and it became apparent to Dabbs that “Bryant was on the move and there was incredible potential for even greater things to happen,” she says.
Dabbs, who had served as mayor for eight years, joined People for Parks before Bishop Park was built. The group formed for the purpose of building the park complex. “I unexpectedly became the spokesperson and helped advocate for this project by speaking to every group in town until Bishop Park was formed into what it is today,” she says.
Involvement with multiple community organizations and serving as president of the Bryant Barracudas swim team hooked Dabbs on collaborative community development. “Eleven years later, I realized there were many other areas of our city that desperately needed a results-driven Mayor,” she says, and results are what keep her motivated to serve as mayor.
Since 2011 when Dabbs first took office, she says, every city department has been restructured toward greater efficiency and productivity. “We have completed numerous improvements and have many ongoing construction projects. Bryant is quickly becoming a model city using best practices, and the results are seen all over town. One of my favorite things to do is take anyone on a drive around town and point out accomplishments and future plans.”
She relishes overseeing the daily management of the city as well as collaborating with the business community, Chamber of Commerce, the school district and economic developers vested in the community. “It takes all of us working together to shape and lead Bryant continually toward positive growth.”
Looking ahead, Dabbs says she is most excited about the development of the Heart of Bryant initiative and Midtown in addition to local job growth.
“I plan to be mayor for as long as the citizens of Bryant continue to re-elect me,” Dabbs says. “I am often asked, ‘Why in the world would you want that job?’ I just smile and say, ‘This is the place I feel I can make the most difference in the world.’ Every day I look forward to going to work. Until God directs me otherwise, I plan to be right here serving the citizens of Bryant.”
In her spare time, Dabbs enjoys spending time with her family or bicycling with friends. She is the current Metroplan president. She is also a graduate of the State Chamber Leadership Arkansas program, has completed the Community Development Institute program at the University of Central Arkansas and serves on the board of the Southwest Trail.νJillian McGehee