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mcheiss

Conway vs. Jonesboro

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It's really hard for me to judge this because I know little about Conway and even less about Jonesboro. Now I have seen info on developments on the Arkansas forum but I've never even been to Jonesboro and I only really driven through Conway. Both have potential but have differing factors. Conway, no offense, in many ways will be in Little Rock's shadow. Even when Pine Bluff when going through it's economic growth period in the 60's I think it was still hard for them to overcome being so close to Little Rock. Conway is a different situation but could suffer some effects from being so close to Little Rock. With that being said it might also depend on if the typical suburb effect continues around the Little Rock area or if Little Rock can start to overcome this and start drawing more people back into the city. With condo projects popping up around some nice areas of the city I could see a Little Rock that starts growing again and could help decrease the growth of the ring around Pulaski County. Jonesboro is a bit different, yes it's somewhat close to Memphis but I think it's far enough away to not be affected as much. Jonesboro has potential in that it can become a semi-regional center for that area. Aside from Marion is there anything going on in that area of the state? I'm not sure on this but I think Jonesboro could become a draw to people in southeast Missouri if it hasn't already. Anyone else have any views on this?

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With the mall going in place in Jonesboro, I think Jonesboro could attract a lot of attention from Southeast Missouri and Northeastern Arkansas. They are close yet far away from Memphis.

Conway will be in Little Rock's Shadow always. I-40 is about the one thing in my opinion holding Conway back. And the fact that their streets are pretty clogged.

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With the mall going in place in Jonesboro, I think Jonesboro could attract a lot of attention from Southeast Missouri and Northeastern Arkansas. They are close yet far away from Memphis.

Conway will be in Little Rock's Shadow always. I-40 is about the one thing in my opinion holding Conway back. And the fact that their streets are pretty clogged.

Yeah I can see that, but I suppose it's possible that Conway could in a way 'ride on Little Rock's coattails' and get some benefits that Jonesboro couldn't because it isn't almost right next to a larger city. If Conway could develop something or get something going that would be unique and seperate itself from what Little Rock has. Perhaps keep people from feeling they have to go to Little Rock for entertainment for example. Not sure if they could get something going that could actually attract people away from Little Rock though. I do know Pine Bluff had a pretty hard time getting much going. Pine Bluff always seemed to have a hard time because even if they got something nice most people's attitudes there seemed to be we'd rather go do something in Little Rock instead. I don't know if this could happen in a place like Conway but it's a possible problem they could encounter.

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I know Jonesboro is mainly blue collard, but what is Conway?

If you had to put it in a category, then it's white collar. But really, Conway is a little bit of everything. For the most part, it has been a bedroom community. A lot of people live here but work in Little Rock, and these people tend to be rather affluent. Conway does have a rather large manufacturing sector, but this seems to be decreasing in importance. The true "backbone" of the economy in C-town is the colleges. Not only do they provide a lot of employment and students who spend money here, but increasingly those students are staying here in Conway after graduation. Thus, the median age is fairly young (low 30's, but going up).

What Conway really lacks is a retail sector compared to other similar sized towns, like Jonesboro. For years, the old Wal-Mart on Hwy. 65 has been the "mall". Conway is so close to Little Rock that it hasn't developed large shopping centers, since most people just go to Little Rock to shop. But this is changing a lot. Right now we are getting a lot of the typical big box stores you would find in any town of +50,000. It will likely be a few years, though, before anything like a real mall comes to town.

This whole natural gas thing (see the thread on it) will likely do some real good things.

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If you had to put it in a category, then it's white collar. But really, Conway is a little bit of everything. For the most part, it has been a bedroom community. A lot of people live here but work in Little Rock, and these people tend to be rather affluent. Conway does have a rather large manufacturing sector, but this seems to be decreasing in importance. The true "backbone" of the economy in C-town is the colleges. Not only do they provide a lot of employment and students who spend money here, but increasingly those students are staying here in Conway after graduation. Thus, the median age is fairly young (low 30's, but going up).

What Conway really lacks is a retail sector compared to other similar sized towns, like Jonesboro. For years, the old Wal-Mart on Hwy. 65 has been the "mall". Conway is so close to Little Rock that it hasn't developed large shopping centers, since most people just go to Little Rock to shop. But this is changing a lot. Right now we are getting a lot of the typical big box stores you would find in any town of +50,000. It will likely be a few years, though, before anything like a real mall comes to town.

This whole natural gas thing (see the thread on it) will likely do some real good things.

Yeah there is one effect og being so close to Little Rock. Now that I think about it I think Pine Bluff has had the same problem. Many people have a 'why bother shopping in Pine Bluff when I can go shop in Little Rock' attitude. There will be some disadvantages to being so close to a city as large as Little Rock.

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I know Jonesboro is mainly blue collard, but what is Conway?

Suburban and more of a college town, with Hendrix, UCA and Central Baptist College. Conway reminds me in a lot of ways of a bigger Rogers with colleges.

I would say Conway is more poised for growth because of its proximity to Little Rock and more affluent demographic. Both have colleges but there are more students in Conway and Hendrix is a big pull for companies like Acxiom, etc with white collar jobs.

Both need to give up on the strict "dryness". At least Conway seems to have taken the first step in doing so with liquor by the drink in a couple of non-private club restaurants.

Incidentaly, Faulkner (where Conway is located) has been the #2 county in growth in Arkansas, behind Benton Co, for at least 15 years.

The only downside for Conway is the stagnating traffic as it is designed to be a much smaller down and there are too few roads and these are too narrow. Also, I-40 between Conway and Little Rock is about as busy as I-540 through NWA, is is jam-packed at rush hour and needs to be widened to 6 lanes which is not on anybody's agenda. Commuting to Conway is going to become too difficult eventually.

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Umm can I pick either/or, or perhaps both? LOL

Both from what I have read have factors that will spur growth.

Conway being so close to Little Rock could see growth and development off it, plus as I read it has a good base of white collar jobs to lure people to town, along with some colleges that will make the city even more attractive.

Jonesboro on the other hand clearly is the boomtown of NEARK in industrial and commercial ventures, and thus will grow rapidly because of its increasing role as a regional employment and services center. So it will probably remain more blue-collar and won't have as much high-end development perhaps, but it will play the appropriate city role for its region.

So both seem to be poised to have great growth, but neither from the information I have at hand seems more poised outgrow the other.

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Jonesboro really needs to start diversifing it's economy. If all they have is a manufacturing base, then what else is going to drive in those jobs?

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^ Industry is what the city needs. Thats the path to the middle class. The population is educated and geared towards such work, thus thats what they need. Once these folks work for 30 years in factories, send their kids off to college, etc, then the area can start asking about white collar jobs. You have to have a population educated and given enough opportunities to gain skills to lure white collar jobs, otherwise their is no available qualified workforce to lure those type employers to a city.

White collar jobs will come as well in period in between. Factories have white collar jobs, the city will lure small corporate regional offices, small regional HQs, etc. You can't skip a rung on the economic development ladder. Industry is vital for any region, even one with a large white collar population, to thrive, as its the backbone for the middle class. Without industry the vast majority of any city's/region's population have no means to make a good living and provide better opportunities for their children.

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Jonesboro will continue to grow as it provides for the services sector of Northeast AR and a small part of SE Missouri. However, Conway's added benefit is it provides a suburban environment near a mid-major metro area so it can grow some at the expense of Pulaski Co whose many jobs will supply plenty of employment. J'boro like the rest of the state is moving more from manufacturing to services.

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Aporkalypse: First of all, being a dry county doesn't seem to be affecting the growth of either of these two cities. For all the facts on wet vs. dry counties in AR, see my post here.

mcheiss: Jonesboro has a reletively LOW manufacturing base. Many of the larger plants in town have closed down over the last decade or so including Lincoln and GE. :)

To say that J-town doesn't have a substantial white collar base is inaccurate. All one needs to do is drive through Ridge Pointe and see the 10,000 to 30,000 sq ft houses there. Jonesboro cannot build the upscale neighborhoods fast enough.

Jonesboro's offerings in the area of retail have really increased over the last few years. We have the new 800,000 sq ft mall (partially opened), Old Navy, Pier 1, TJ Max, Target, Books a Million, Chilis, O'Charlie's, Ruby Tuesday, El Chico, Colton's, Outback, Cracker Barrell, Chuck E. Cheese's, and so much more. All in the last 10 years! :wacko:

I know (from the LR news) that Conway is seeing a lot of development, too. Both towns, IMO, are amazing... great places to live. :thumbsup:

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mcheiss: Jonesboro has a reletively LOW manufacturing base. Many of the larger plants in town have closed down over the last decade or so including Lincoln and GE. :)

To say that J-town doesn't have a substantial white collar base is inaccurate. All one needs to do is drive through Ridge Pointe and see the 10,000 to 30,000 sq ft houses there. Jonesboro cannot build the upscale neighborhoods fast enough.

Ah, I see. I was under the impression the Jonesboro was just manufacturing.

Although, I doubt there are homes up to 30,000 sq. ft out there. We don't even have homes that big up here in NW Arkansas, and we certainly have a much bigger white collar base than Jonesboro (No Offense).

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Aporkalypse: First of all, being a dry county doesn't seem to be affecting the growth of either of these two cities. For all the facts on wet vs. dry counties in AR, see my post here.

Jonesboro's offerings in the area of retail have really increased over the last few years. We have the new 800,000 sq ft mall (partially opened), Old Navy, Pier 1, TJ Max, Target, Books a Million, Chilis, O'Charlie's, Ruby Tuesday, El Chico, Colton's, Outback, Cracker Barrell, Chuck E. Cheese's, and so much more. All in the last 10 years! :wacko:

That's really not too impressive. Hot Springs has all those stores mentioned (besides Target). Then again, maybe Hot Springs is on a comparable level to these two cities.

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Aporkalypse: First of all, being a dry county doesn't seem to be affecting the growth of either of these two cities. For all the facts on wet vs. dry counties in AR, see my post here.

You can say whatever you want, but being in a dry county negatively hurts a community economically. It's much harder to attract certain developments, and Conway has lost out on a number of them just in the past few years because of it.

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^ I have to agree when it comes to attracting outside investment, be it commercial, retail, or whatever a town's liquor laws do impact a companies views on locating there in many cases. "Liquor by the Drink" and quick easy access to an airport capable of landing corporate jets are IMO two of the most vital selling point for a town outside of the initial infrastructure the town is trying to sell itself on. Corporate types want to know they can fly in, go to their asset/or to town, do their business, and have access to what in their minds are the proper type of dining settings to conduct business over; plus it shows that the town offers such amenities and is not a backwater. So its vital that a town hoping to sell itself to outside investment have an adequate airport (or at least regional one) and have lured or have allowed locals the opportunity to establish liquor serving dining establishments that potential corporate types can feel comfortable discussing business in, as well as reflect well on what the town offers in the way of selling points to this type of businessman (who is most likely from a major city).

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That's really not too impressive. Hot Springs has all those stores mentioned (besides Target). Then again, maybe Hot Springs is on a comparable level to these two cities.

Agreed, as does Benton/Bryant. These are found in essentially every community over 30k these days.

As for the dry county thing, CentralArkansas is right, it cost Conway the corporate HQs for Acxiom and several office buildings employing a couple thousand or more white collar workers. Acxiom is the highest paying company in the state (with median wages more than twice the state's median) and has to recruit nationally to find people with the right expertise and apparently Conway being dry was preventing them from recruiting the people they wanted and moving to LR has helped. This is why Acxiom was always a big proponent of Conway becoming wet. It has also cost them a couple of corporate relocations. Jonesboro is not attracting a big new corporate presence at all, it's merely adding jobs in the service industry to serve NEA as you would expect.

Liquor by the drink probably makes up for being dry entirely. I don't think people mind driving 20 minutes to stock up on beer and liquor, they just don't like driving that distance to a decent restaurant. Case and point is Benton Co, which now has a pretty good diversity of restaurants and quite a bit of entertainment activity compared to when I was growing up when you had to drive to Fayetteville or Missouri. Some of the fastest growing and nicest parts of the DFW metro are in liquor by the drink areas and none of the metro is completely dry.

The worst part about being dry is that from Conway it's a 25 min drive to LR/NLR and a wide array of restaurants and bars. It's even less from Cabot and Benton/Bryant, so the effect is lessened. That drive from Jonesboro to Memphis, though, is one hell of a drive - especially considering many places you would want to go are in East Memphis.

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I love how you all argue against facts with opinions. As if Axciom left Conway because it is a dry town??? :rofl:

I challenge you folks to give me ONE instance in the state of AR where a company has refused to locate in a dry city because of its liquor laws (other than a restaurant). :whistling:

I would also like an answer as to why the population growth rates are so much higher in dry counties in AR rather than wet counties (if all the jobs are going to wet counties). And... while you're at it... explain why the cost of law enforcement is so much higher in wet counties as well.

Cheers. :thumbsup:

PS... Back up claims with facts, please.

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There is no statistical information to prove how many companies don't locate someplace due to a town/county being "dry", since many companies/local governments never let it be known they are even looking at a city/region until they are fairly serious about locating there, thus you'd never know how many came in unannounced looked around and left after finding whatever reasons they found the location unacceptable and left. I personally was not stating facts (if that was directed to me in any fashion), but developed opinions about what corporations, esp. ones from larger cities, look for in smaller locals they might what to set up operations in. I developed these after very extensive discussions of the matter with folks who know about local attempts in industrial recruiting in dry vs. wet counties in my region and the impact of adequate local air access. It is a factor with some companies in how they view a city/town is all I'm saying , which is usually based on the norms of where the corporate folks are from.

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I love how you all argue against facts with opinions. As if Axciom left Conway because it is a dry town??? :rofl:

I challenge you folks to give me ONE instance in the state of AR where a company has refused to locate in a dry city because of its liquor laws (other than a restaurant). :whistling:

I would also like an answer as to why the population growth rates are so much higher in dry counties in AR rather than wet counties (if all the jobs are going to wet counties). And... while you're at it... explain why the cost of law enforcement is so much higher in wet counties as well.

Cheers. :thumbsup:

NWA is growing because of an anomaly, that being that several of the world's biggest companies are based there. The counties surrounding Little Rock are growing because they surround the state's most dense population center, nothing else. You are incorrectly extrapolating the fact that these are the fastest growing regions of the state with the fact that they are dry, and saying "oh this shows that being a dry county doesn't negatively affect an economy." This, in fact, is not true. Rather, you must ask, "what would these counties be doing if they were wet instead of dry," and that's impossible to answer precisely. At the VERY minimum many, many more restaurants, bars, etc. would locate into a town, which would mean greatly improved nightlife, which would in turn mean a company would see that community as a desirable place to locate because of the ability to attract employees. For an example of the growth that can happen in a wet vs. dry county, just look at Little Rock. Absolutely no way downtown living would be on fire like it is without the nightlife in the Rivermarket. Sure, the Clinton Library has helped a ton, but do you think people move into a loft apartment to be close to a library? Of course not, it's all the nightlife that has been spawned because of it, which wouldn't be possible in a dry county. Along the same lines, Conway's downtown would turn into an extremely fun place if it was wet. All this brings outside investment, jobs, and lots-o money into the town. Sure, Conway is growing as it is, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't do much better as a "wet" county.

Why is the cost of law enforcement higher in wet counties? Well, many things could explain this, but if you think it has anything to do with the fact that a county is wet/dry then you are simply ignorant of the situation. It could be due to the population, culture, economics, etc., of a county, or many other factors. If you think it's because people in a dry county don't get drunk as much because they have to drive half an hour for their booze, then you are delusional. Never has a dry county stopped someone from drinking a single day of their life. Rather, the effect is mainly putting drunks on the road for 20 miles to the county line instead of 1.5 miles to the local liquor store. I graduated from UCA, and I can't tell you how many times I watched people cart off to the county line, half drunk, because they were out of beer. Now, wouldn't you rather have them drive to the liquor store on the edge of campus instead of to Mayflower?

PS... Back up claims with facts, please.

"Facts" can be made to say whatever you want them to say. The important thing is to look at the numbers in context with what is happening around them, not just at the raw numbers. For example, the high growth rates in several of the dry counties you refer to is being driven by outside factors such as the largest company in the world.

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I love how you all argue against facts with opinions. As if Axciom left Conway because it is a dry town??? :rofl:

I challenge you folks to give me ONE instance in the state of AR where a company has refused to locate in a dry city because of its liquor laws (other than a restaurant). :whistling:

I would also like an answer as to why the population growth rates are so much higher in dry counties in AR rather than wet counties (if all the jobs are going to wet counties). And... while you're at it... explain why the cost of law enforcement is so much higher in wet counties as well.

Cheers. :thumbsup:

PS... Back up claims with facts, please.

I can't back it up with facts any more than you can back up anything you said with facts. Charles Morgan stated as much, though, and my uncle is on the Conway Chamber of Commerce and has said the same repeatedly. Several of my friends work for Acxiom both in LR and in Conway. I don't know much about Jonesboro but I know plenty about Conway.

It's not as much about being "dry" as it is recruiting new employees from Chicago, Charlotte, or San Diego and asking them if they'd like to go to Chili's, Chuck E Cheese, or Ruby Tuesday for dinner. The dearth of restaurants in these towns is noticable when you drive through them, particularly compared to similar-sized cities in other states. It makes the towns seem dead and much smaller than they actually are.

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