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Arkansawyer

Should Little Rock and North Little Rock merge?

Should Little Rock and North Little Rock form one city again?  

58 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Little Rock and North Little Rock form one city again?

    • Yes
      49
    • No
      9


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This topic is occasionally discussed, but it never seems to get any steam behind it. Warren Stephens, I believe, has been an advocate of this. I say yes, because it would eliminate the double bureaucracy that we have here. Every department one city has, so has the other. We could have more efficient city government, and more cooperation, rather than working against each other. North Little Rock once was part of Little Rock in the past, but politics managed to separate them. North Little Rock history.

I know that other cities have consolidated for these reasons, and the best one I can think of is Louisville, KY. Consolidation would move Little Rock up on the list of biggest cities, and might make us a more attractive destination. If Little Rock (pop. 184,000), North Little Rock (pop. 60,000), and Sherwood (pop. 22,000) were to merge, then Little Rock would have a population of 266,000. I would leave Jacksonville (pop. 30,000) independent, because its too far out, but these other three cities are really one contiguous city. Then there's Cammack Village, ugh.

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Definitely. No question. I read that since the baseball stadium has been postponed a year, Little Rock is trying to lure it back over to the southside of the river.

Then again, if consolidated, lots of executive city positions would be lost. And bitter members of each city might still form their city cliques.

But overall, it would be best... It would mean an equal (hopefully) amount of care for each side of the riverfront. Right now, the riverfront is definitely Little Rock favored, since so much more resources backs the government south of the river.

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Overall I would say yes. A lot of times it really helps matters if you have one central city to control things. I think it helps some cities like Tulsa. But I guess there are disadvantages too. Sometimes a little competition helps things also. I think some merging would help northwest Arkansas, but I have my doubts it will happen any time soon if ever.

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100% yes. Amazing. An across the board, unanimous decision. Unprecedented.

I'm quite confused. Aside from the executive city positions, what's the benefit of remaining split? If it was consolidated, would more focus still be placed south of the river?

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Sometimes overly competitive hurts. But some competition can be good. When two or more communities are fighting over who gets to say build a new stadium. There's a good chance a nice one will be built because they have to make a stronger effort to put a good design and so forth out there. Maybe I'm thinking more of terms of northwest Arkansas. Take in to account the library here in Fayetteville. I'm sure it wasn't a major factor, but I'm sure there was some upmanship. To have something nicer than any of the other northwest Arkansas cities have. Of course like I said this can be overdone. There's been a movement the past few years of building 'convention center' type facilities in each city. In some ways I've think they've hurt each other trying to compete with each other, rather than all working together and having one or two nice dominant ones.

One thing that hinders also is having your population split. Years ago Ft Smith kept getting all this new businesses and so on. Yes Ft Smith is a bigger city but there's a lot more population in northwest Arkansas. Sometimes people only seem to look at certain figures and it just seems harder to get some things done.

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One of the main problems with a divided LR/NLR is the run up in cost that the winning city has to pay for projects. Recent projects that both cities have gone after.

1. Clinton Center

2. Game and Fish Center

3. Ballpark

4. Bass Pro Shop

The projects get a better deal but the city pays more with improvements or TIF give aways.

If there was a united city then when a project comes up more than one site could be suggested and let those incharge of the project determine which is best.

If I was NRL I would offer LR the BPS in return for support on the Ballpark. I think BPSs are being overbuilt. Take a look at the numbers in OKC and thats before another one is being built in Tulsa.

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Just out of curiousity, does anyone know if people in North Little Rock would reject a merging with Little Rock? Would there be many differences to the people of North Little Rock if there were a merging? Just trying to figure out if there would be any basis other than maybe pride. I suppose city officials may not like the idea because there might not be a job for them anymore.

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One of the main problems with a divided LR/NLR is the run up in cost that the winning city has to pay for projects. Recent projects that both cities have gone after.

1. Clinton Center

2. Game and Fish Center

3. Ballpark

4. Bass Pro Shop

The projects get a better deal but the city pays more with improvements or TIF give aways. 

If there was a united city then when a project comes up more than one site could be suggested and let those incharge of the project determine which is best.

If I was NRL I would offer LR the BPS in return for support on the Ballpark. I think BPSs are being overbuilt. Take a look at the numbers in OKC and thats before another one is being built in Tulsa.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Do you know where the BPS is? I forgot the location and heard that it changed a lot.

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Do you know where the BPS is?  I forgot the location and heard that it changed a lot.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There is a plan to build a lifestyle center on I-40 just west of the 67-167 interchange. Part of it is in a wetland area. Something of interest is that Gander Mountain put in a store in an old Wal-Mart without government money. Gander Mountain opened up about 2 miles up 67-167 from where Bass Pro will be located.

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Okay, since so far everyone here thinks that they should merge and it is a good idea. Then why haven't they? Is there any reasons why this hasn't happened? I guess maybe North Little Rock doesn't want to lose it's 'identity'? Maybe Little Rock should make more effort into trying to get something started?

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You should merge now, while the two cities are still small (when compared to the sizes of cities like Atlanta and Charlotte). If you get too big (300,000+) the cities might start to develop separate identites and reputations that would make it very difficult or even impossible for them to merge.

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Yes. Period.

1. I would like to see the skyline expand across the river.

2. Everyone in the metro area uses the same public facilities... ie roads, parks, etc. There should be a common tax law.

3. Eligible for more federal money with larger population.

4. Instead of competing against each other, we could start competing with places like Memphis, Tulsa, etc.

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Yes it would be nice to see an Arkansas city compete with other cities like that. Even though there is some rivalry with northwest Arkansas. Little Rock is still the only 'real' city in Arkansas even with all the growth up here.

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Like I have said before is there anyone who has any reason that they shouldn't merge? If not then why haven't I heard about any attempts or even talks about thinking about it? Is it because local politicians are worried about their jobs? Could they not at least talk about it now, set something up in the future after everyone's terms are over? Is it just a matter of pride? Does North Little Rock afraid they will lose their city and be overwhelmed by Little Rock? Is it maybe just a matter of pride? Or could it even be just a matter of no one has bothered even trying to talk about it or bring it up? I'm just curious from a perspective of someone who is more familiar with the area or lives in the area.

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Like I have said before is there anyone who has any reason that they shouldn't merge?  If not then why haven't I heard about any attempts or even talks about thinking about it?  Is it because local politicians are worried about their jobs?  Could they not at least talk about it now, set something up in the future after everyone's terms are over?  Is it just a matter of pride?  Does North Little Rock afraid they will lose their city and be overwhelmed by Little Rock?  Is it maybe just a matter of pride?  Or could it even be just a matter of no one has bothered even trying to talk about it or bring it up?  I'm just curious from a perspective of someone who is more familiar with the area or lives in the area.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, as far as I know there has never been a serious effort mounted to support a merger, only occasional statements advocating the idea. The most powerful person I've heard supporting a merger is Warren Stephens. I really just don't have a good answer as to why there aren't efforts to do this. Those on this board, having a more progressive attitude about urban development than the average citizen, probably have more support for the idea. As you suggested, I'm sure several city officials would not support the idea because jobs would be eliminated, and I'd bet that some in North Little Rock do see it as a pride issue. However, I think that most would support it when told of the benefits it would bring to Central Arkansas. Then again, maybe that's just wishful thinking.

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Well, as far as I know there has never been a serious effort mounted to support a merger, only occasional statements advocating the idea. The most powerful person I've heard supporting a merger is Warren Stephens. I really just don't have a good answer as to why there aren't efforts to do this. Those on this board, having a more progressive attitude about urban development than the average citizen, probably have more support for the idea. As you suggested, I'm sure several city officials would not support the idea because jobs would be eliminated, and I'd bet that some in North Little Rock do see it as a pride issue. However, I think that most would support it when told of the benefits it would bring to Central Arkansas. Then again, maybe that's just wishful thinking.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

First of all let me tell you Arkansawyer that Johnny is going to be away for a while so now's your chance to take over discussions. :D

But yes I imagine a lot of people probably don't even bothering thinking about it. But I think that's why it would be a good thing to have some people try to get it out in the open, let people at least even consider it. I wouldn't expect anything to happen overnight. But if people would at least start talking about it I think the chances of it ever happening will improve. Maybe if they would even consider something several years down the road.

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Well I got one response out of him and now he's gone again. Anyway so does anyone think a merger will ever happen? Or how about this, what's more like to happen a merger in central Arkansas or possibly a merger in northwest Arkansas? If you think both are possible which will happen first?

As far as my perspective, in some ways I'd be inclined to think that a central Arkansas merger would be more likely to happen than in northwest Arkansas. There hasn't been any talk up here about any type of merging between cities. I guess one advantage up here is that there isn't one city that's very much larger than any of the others. But I don't think there will ever be any mergers up here for the basic fact that many people up here seem to have the perspective of wanting growth but at the same time not wanting to become overly big or urban. But with all the growth going on it's hard to judge what the future will bring. Things are changing rather rapidly, things that don't seem possible now might seem a lot more plausible in the near future.

(I have now given this it's own topic)

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100% yes.  Amazing. An across the board, unanimous decision.  Unprecedented.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Keep in mind that there were a whopping 9 people involved in this poll.

A possible argument against merging (though I voted in favor of it):

Combining the two cities would mean combining the local governments. While this might make things more efficient for the city, many would argue that efficiency is not what is needed in the chief body for the city. If two separate local governments would help keep laws and lawmaking bodies tied to smaller populations, it might help in the long run.

My biggest question is: What exact miracle cure would a merger of the two towns pull off?

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Keep in mind that there were a whopping 9 people involved in this poll.

A possible argument against merging (though I voted in favor of it):

Combining the two cities would mean combining the local governments.  While this might make things more efficient for the city, many would argue that efficiency is not what is needed in the chief body for the city.  If two separate local governments would help keep laws and lawmaking bodies tied to smaller populations, it might help in the long run.

My biggest question is:  What exact miracle cure would a merger of the two towns pull off?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's why my comment was hilarious. GEEZ.

Ok I have to get back to packing... Carry on!

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Keep in mind that there were a whopping 9 people involved in this poll.

A possible argument against merging (though I voted in favor of it):

Combining the two cities would mean combining the local governments.  While this might make things more efficient for the city, many would argue that efficiency is not what is needed in the chief body for the city.  If two separate local governments would help keep laws and lawmaking bodies tied to smaller populations, it might help in the long run.

My biggest question is:  What exact miracle cure would a merger of the two towns pull off?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I believe someone earlier mentioned about having both cities fighting over things. The lastest example is the future site of the Arkansas Travelers. I imagine it would also help have everything unified. I'm not that familiar with the area but you could have type of area on one side of the river go to the other side and have a completely different zoning property. That and I have always wondered as far as getting back tax revenue and so on. Any idea what would get the best benefit, the two sums that both cities get now or the one lump sum they would get if it were all one bigger city? Granted a city like North Little Rock now has control over it's share of the money. I suppose maybe they run the risk of sometimes not getting to use as much in case a big project was being worked on, on the other side of the river. But at the same time if they were merged you could also have more money to help pull off bigger projects. As always there will be some advantages and disadvantages to everything. I guess it's just a matter of perspective on which outweighs the other. I think one of the reasons this topic came up was because of cities like Tulsa that exist of both sides of the river as opposed to here where they didn't exist as one single entity. I guess that doesn't occur anywhere in Arkansas that I can think of, at least dealing with the Arkansas River. Little Rock/North Little Rock, Russellville/Dardenelle, Ft Smith/Van Buren.

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I wouldn't expect anything to happen overnight.  But if people would at least start talking about it I think the chances of it ever happening will improve.  Maybe if they would even consider something several years down the road.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In the August 8-14 edition of Arkansas Business, there is an editorial about how the Enclave at the Riverfront shows how little a distinction people make between the two cities. It then goes on to suggest a merger, which it calls a "politically thorny" issue. The Warren Stephen's quote, that a merger is an idea "that's time has come," resurfaces.

I hope this isn't an issue that most residents see one way, but which the city governments are unwilling to act on because of the sure-to-come difficulties in pulling off such a move.

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In the August 8-14 edition of Arkansas Business, there is an editorial about how the Enclave at the Riverfront shows how little a distinction people make between the two cities. It then goes on to suggest a merger, which it calls a "politically thorny" issue. The Warren Stephen's quote, that a merger is an idea "that's time has come," resurfaces.

I hope this isn't an issue that most residents see one way, but which the city governments are unwilling to act on because of the sure-to-come difficulties in pulling off such a move.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Annexation has worked very well in some places, but outright mergers are difficult. Charleston, SC has really been resurgent the last 15 yrs largely based on an series of moves that more than doubled its population and allowed it to better act as the center of its metro area. There has long been talk of merging with the Pulaski County government the way Nashville and Miami did in their respective counties but to do so NLR and LR really need to be incorporated. Tha gives you a tax base of 360k for any project you want to undergo and a small tax goes a long way for the whole county (see Alltel Arena). If NLR was more of a ring suburb it would be different but the two downtowns are a short walk apart, the city centres are just blocks apart - few cities are similar. There is a lot of resentment and bad blood in the past but I think both would be much better off under common leadership and be better able to coordinate functions and bring in new investment and businesses.

That said, the man to lead it would be none other than Patrick Henry Hays, the guy is one hell of a mayor.

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Annexation has worked very well in some places, but outright mergers are difficult.  Charleston, SC has really been resurgent the last 15 yrs largely based on an series of moves that more than doubled its population and allowed it to better act as the center of its metro area.  There has long been talk of merging with the Pulaski County government the way Nashville and Miami did in their respective counties but to do so NLR and LR really need to be incorporated.  Tha gives you a tax base of 360k for any project you want to undergo and a small tax goes a long way for the whole county (see Alltel Arena).  If NLR was more of a ring suburb it would be different but the two downtowns are a short walk apart, the city centres are just blocks apart - few cities are similar.  There is a lot of resentment and bad blood in the past but I think both would be much better off under common leadership and be better able to coordinate functions and bring in new investment and businesses. 

That said, the man to lead it would be none other than Patrick Henry Hays, the guy is one hell of a mayor.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I couldn't agree more! Are there any major costs involved of a merger like this? I can't think of any. As a matter of fact, I would think that it would be more cost beneficial to be one city.

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I couldn't agree more!  Are there any major costs involved of a merger like this?  I can't think of any.  As a matter of fact, I would think that it would be more cost beneficial to be one city.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Generally, it would be more beneficial where there is duplication of services to eliminate what is unneeded, though largely the expense would be changing signs and vehicle designs. It would allow some paring of administration the same way school consolidation would.

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