The quarterly general membership luncheon of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 27, at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce office.


“Our guest speaker will be Tab Townsell, executive director at Metroplan,” reads a release issued by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.


The cost of the luncheon will be $5 per member and $10 per non-member.


In 2016, the Metroplan Board of Directors has selected Townsell as Executive Director. Townsell assumed the role when Jim McKenzie retired from the position after 28 years of leadership.


Townsell holds a Masters in Business Administration from Texas Christian University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Arkansas.


He served as the Mayor of Conway since 1999, and under his leadership, the city experienced 40 percent growth. During his time in office, Townsell focused on urban planning, transportation improvements, and community and economic development, according to a release issued by Metroplan.


Townsell has served on the Metroplan Board of Directors since 1999, and was Board President from 1993-1995.


Selected achievements include:


1. Currently directing a $33 million street improvement program – the largest in Conway’s history. All projects are median divided and include either separated bike lanes and sidewalks or multi-purpose side paths.


2. Instituted modern roundabouts, leading the state in implementation. Currently, 15 roundabouts are operational and another seven are under construction.


3. Achieved Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community status in 2011 for the League of American Bicyclists and was re-accredited in 2015.


4. Instituted a Complete Streets ordinance for all new street construction and redevelopment.


5. Approved the Hendrix Village new urbanism project, with mixed used development combining single-family homes, townhomes, apartments and commercial and office space in a highly livable and walkable space.


6. Rededicated bond issue to finance $20 million of the current $33 million street work program.


7. Acquired $17 million in funding from AHTD and the State for the southern I-40 interchange currently under construction.


8. Created an Economic Development Fund and aided in the recruitment of the Hewlett-Packard facility.


9. Purchased or acquired under long-term lease more than 350 acres of new parkland and facilities.


10. Passed a bond issue for a major park development program.


11. Increased public safety with a dedicated annual revenue source to purchase police vehicles; increased the starting salaries for Police and Fire Departments; and invested in the Fire Department with an updated fleet of engines and a new fire station.


Mayor Townsell began work at Metroplan after his term as mayor ended at the end of last year.


Metroplan is the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for the four-county region of Faulkner, Lonoke, Pulaski and Saline counties. It is a voluntary association of local governments that has operated since 1955.