EL DORADO, Ark. - 2018 March 11
Joffre Long loves El Dorado.
"The atmosphere of the town, the culture, the southern culture, the religious atmosphere."
A love so deep that it kept him here for 73 years.
From the boom town days to now, he's seen so much come and go.
Now, the city is the busiest he's ever seen.
"There's entertainment venues; there's shows here almost weekly," he said.
Census reports show a population drop from 18,884 in 2010 to about 500 fewer people in 2016,
Despite what the Census reports, city officials say El Dorado is clearly thriving.
From businesses to construction, there are no signs of slowing down.
"The amount of water we sell, the tonnage of garbage we pick up, the water meters, gas meters and all of that, there's been no big decline in that," said Frank Hash, El Dorado mayor. "If people were leaving, we would certainly see those indicators."
The Chamber of Commerce says for years the Census Bureau has reported a decline in population, but the proof is in the city's continuous growth.
"Businesses are doing well, retail businesses are doing well, and we are looking at some retail businesses that are looking at el dorado, so they believe it's here," said Long.
For longtime citizen Joffre, he believes that there's nothing better than his hometown, a place he says has plenty to offer.
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