Doug Kinslow was born in Fort Smith in 1957. He attended the Greenwood School District from the middle of the first grade on. There was no kindergarten at the time and he started first grade in Little Rock while his dad, Fred Kinslow was in the Air Force. Kinslow played football and basketball in high school along with summer league baseball. He was in the FFA and was even voted best dressed and most handsome in his high school yearbook. His senior class buried a time capsule in town square for the Bi-Centennial. Kinslow had two sisters and a brother.
In the 7th grade, Kinslow met his future wife, Pam. She is the only woman he ever dated and they now have three boys and a daughter. They waited until two years after high school to get married, then lived in Fort Smith for a very short time before moving back to Greenwood.
While a junior in high school, Kinslow started working for his uncle, washing dishes at Juan’s Mexican Restaurant. For the next 25 years, Kinslow worked his way from a dish washer to a cook and finally a manager at the restaurant. He held other jobs while working at Juan’s, including a factory job at Transkrit and a short stint as the owner of Doug’s Place, a restaurant in Greenwood.
For most of the 90s, Kinslow was the Director of the South Sebastian County Youth Organization. He helped it become the South Sebastian County Boys & Girls Club. After ten years, he left to go to barber school. For the next several years, he worked with his dad cutting hair for the citizens of Greenwood and managing the new ROC at First Baptist Church, where he attended service since his youth.
Ken Edwards, then Mayor of Greenwood, offered him the position of Parks Director for the City of Greenwood and Kinslow gladly accepted. Kinslow helped coordinate the creation of many new parks and memorials around Greenwood, including Ossie Louise, Liberty and Memorial Parks. He also helped create the many improvements in Bell Park, and start the projects of turning Greenwood Lake into a City Park and adding a trail system to Greenwood.
Kinslow has been a youth coach, Lion’s Club member, and is active with Focus on Greenwood and the United Way. He also attends First Baptist Church where he is a deacon. He also attends Kory Kinslow Ministries when he can. The volunteer effort he is most passionate about, however, is Relay for Life. Last year, he walked for twelve non-stop hours and dedicated the effort to both his mother and his brother, both of whom were lost to cancer.
Each candidate was asked the same five questions. Here are their answers.
Q: How do you envision Greenwood’s future?
A: “For the most part, I would love to see Greenwood stay the same. We have always had that small town atmosphere. A lot of that is going to change with I-49 coming in as close as it is. We will be close enough where things are going to change. The good thing about our growth is it will probably take some time. It’s not going to happen overnight. People will still feel like a small town and act like a small town. I don’t think Greenwood will ever attract big industry, but I would like to see some of the empty buildings around town get filled up. Too much industry changes a town.”
Q: If you were Mayor, how would you approach Greenwood’s plans for annexation?
A: “I live on the edge of Chaffee and I know that if they ever open that up to industry, a subdivision or roads, I will be at the meetings. I understand the concerns people have so I don’t blame them for wanting to be at the annexation meetings voicing their concerns. With I-49 coming through, Fort Smith is going to move south. It is the only direction they can move. I am not against annexation, I am for it, but I am for it in a civil way. I don’t like the thought of any kind of take over. I think it is important that we explain to the people the benefits of annexation. It’s going to be a tough thing for those in the country facing annexation. Communication is very important.
“One of the biggest hurdles is explaining how we are going to do something for a new area that we aren’t doing for the current city. If I do become mayor, I think we need to get a program in place to improve our streets. Not that they aren’t doing a good job, but we need a plan.”
Q: What is the best way to develop a positive working relationship between City Council and Mayor?
A: “I have worked under two administrations now and I won’t say anything bad about either one of them because I believe they did what they thought was best. I think you just have to listen. You don’t have to agree with everything. What’s important to me is being able to work through issues and talk about them in a civil manner. Being gentlemen and listening to each other is important. If you have something negative to say, wait until you can say it in private.
“It ought to be more about what the people want, not about what the council or the mayor wants. I believe everyone on the city council really wants what’s best for Greenwood. They are not there to get rich. If everyone would try to work through the details, listening and compromising, the end result would be a whole lot better.”
Q: What can you do as Mayor to help build Greenwood’s economy?
A: “It is important to be in touch with people. We need to find out what people need, including the current businesses. I see so many mom and pop places come in, struggle and fail. We need to be able to help these people out. That means working with the Chamber of Commerce and the planning development as well as folks like the economic development people that were here a few weeks ago. We may not have a lot of industry, but everyone wants to live in Greenwood.”
Q: What are the top three items on your agenda if you become Mayor?
A: “First, to come in and listen to the department heads, the city council and the people. I think the mayor’s job is to be the leader, the coach of the City. I want to be able to come into City Hall and help keep things going and avoid the drama that has plagued Greenwood for so long.
“Second, infrastructure is important. We need to identify where we need to grow and how to improve our infrastructure to make growth appealing and viable for the next generation. Part of that is improving our communication with others, from James Fork Water to the City of Fort Smith. That also includes putting together some sort of plan to deal with traffic relief in Greenwood and working with the State and County to find ways to minimize traffic congestion as we continue to grow.
“Third, we need to listen. Find out what people and businesses want and help build a plan to make things better for them. I hate to see so many businesses come into Greenwood and then leave. We need to make this a place where people want to be.”