Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Mith242

Which direction will growth go in Central Arkansas?

Recommended Posts

I did something like this for northwest Arkansas. Since I've been down around the area recently I've been thinking more about it. I know there's been a lot of growth around Conway north of the Little Rock area. I've also heard a lot about growth to the southwest of the Little Rock area in the way of Benton and Bryant. Although I haven't actually been to these areas. Seems like I heard the growth is really starting to pick up to the east of the Little Rock area in Lonoke County. Where does anyone see the next big growth area? For that matter does anyone see Hot Springs and/or Pine Bluff becomming a part of the Little Rock metro?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


This is a long, complicated question to answer but I'll do my best.

3 of the 5 fastest growing counties in Arkansas are Faulkner (#2), Saline, and Lonoke. Conway is continuing to grow but Faulkner has a lot of exurban growth, much like NWA. Greenbrier and Vilonia are towns that are doubling in size. Vilonia offers an advantage as its between Cabot and Conway and there are at least 3 ways to get to LR from there. Mayflower, between Maumelle and Conway, is growing but not the way its location would make you think it would. It's not as attractive an area as the rest of Central Arkansas and that plays a role. Camp Robinson (Ark NG) actually takes up a bunch of land east of there and Because of this and because of a lack of exits between Morgan/Maumelle and Conway, it is very difficult for growth between these areas. I-40 being just 4 lanes between LR and Conway is a major problem, it's packed at rush hour and one wreck there can shut the interstate down. It doesn't help that this is a major trucking route, either.

Saline County is doing very well. Bryant, which like Sherwood wasn't really there before suburban development happened, essentially borders LR and this makes it a most convenient bedroom community. This area, like Conway, has become an attractive suburban retail market as well. In population Faulkner and Saline Cos are very similar. The widening of I-30 to 6 lanes all the way into downtown LR and slightly shorter distance than the others should help it deal with traffic much better than Conway. The outskirts of Benton are about 15-20 min from Hot Springs' outskirts, the break in development between Conway and Maumelle is about the same.

Lonoke Co is smaller in population. Cabot is the focus of almost all of its growth because it sits on 67/167 which is essentialy interstate-quality past NLR, Sherwood, and Jacksonville and there's no break in development. It has the advantage of not having the difficulties of the Pulaski Co School District. Now that the I-440 addition is connected to Sherwood, this gives them two ways to reach downtown. The NLR McCain retail corridor has as much to offer as anywhere in the state and is only a 15 min drive.

Perry Co will be the new frontier and it will connect directly to West LR. It's already growing but is strictly exurban and is some of the prettiest country in Arkansas.

Little development is occurring Southeast in the direction of PB. Little Rock traditionally has grown West into the hills and there's no town that way with much to offer. Grant Co, with Sheridan, is included in the MSA and is growing no doubt because of LR. I just don't see much growth along I-30, it's not considered desirable.

A case could be made for Hot Springs to be part of the MSA. I don't think there are a lot of commuters between the two but there's no more break in development than there is between Conway and NLR. A case could also be made for Pine Bluff but that's more of a stretch. I think there are a fair number of commuters both ways but it's a huge stretch of undeveloped land. PB has done everything it can to keep its population over 50k to keep its own MSA, including annexing land to include the prison populations, but that's not going to last much longer if they keep losing people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That brings me to another question then. Can two metros join? Could Pine Bluff stay above 50,000 city population and still eventually be a part of the Little Rock metro one day?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That brings me to another question then. Can two metros join? Could Pine Bluff stay above 50,000 city population and still eventually be a part of the Little Rock metro one day?

Metros are determined by the percentage of workers that commute from one county to another. I'm not sure what that percentage is, but say that more people in Pine Bluff start to commute to Little Rock for work, and the commuters reach the necessary percentage, then Jefferson County would be included in Little Rock's MSA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metros are determined by the percentage of workers that commute from one county to another. I'm not sure what that percentage is, but say that more people in Pine Bluff start to commute to Little Rock for work, and the commuters reach the necessary percentage, then Jefferson County would be included in Little Rock's MSA.

Well you'd think that was certainly possible the way the job market is down there. But I guess people decided the other option of just leaving the city altogether. You'd think there must be some way for Pine Bluff to get something going. It certainly has potential in it's downtown. It would be great to see it revitalized. I believe it's also got some of the cheapest real estate in the nation. If Pine Bluff didn't have such a negative image you could at least get people to live there and commute to Little Rock. Then maybe they could then get a few things going. Offer some more restaurants and such to try to keep some people from going to Little Rock to go eat and such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well you'd think that was certainly possible the way the job market is down there. But I guess people decided the other option of just leaving the city altogether. You'd think there must be some way for Pine Bluff to get something going. It certainly has potential in it's downtown. It would be great to see it revitalized. I believe it's also got some of the cheapest real estate in the nation. If Pine Bluff didn't have such a negative image you could at least get people to live there and commute to Little Rock. Then maybe they could then get a few things going. Offer some more restaurants and such to try to keep some people from going to Little Rock to go eat and such.

A lot of people commute from LR to Jefferson County because they prefer not to live in PB. I don't know if you're familiar with NCTR in Jefferson (National Center for Toxicologic Research) but there is a ton of serious scientific research done there. It's an FDA facility now but back in the cold war days it was a top-secret testing center for nerve gas, etc. Anyway, virtually of the professionals commute from LR.

BTW, there was talk about landing a national vaccine manufacturing facility in PB after the anthrax scare. I don't know what's going on with that now, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of people commute from LR to Jefferson County because they prefer not to live in PB. I don't know if you're familiar with NCTR in Jefferson (National Center for Toxicologic Research) but there is a ton of serious scientific research done there. It's an FDA facility now but back in the cold war days it was a top-secret testing center for nerve gas, etc. Anyway, virtually of the professionals commute from LR.

BTW, there was talk about landing a national vaccine manufacturing facility in PB after the anthrax scare. I don't know what's going on with that now, though.

Yeah I'm familiar with it. There's quite a few people around White hall near Pine Bluff that work there. But yes the rest probably come from Little Rock.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I'm familiar with it. There's quite a few people around White hall near Pine Bluff that work there. But yes the rest probably come from Little Rock.

I worked there briefly in the mid-90s.

The Big Orange in Jefferson is the coolest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked there briefly in the mid-90s.

The Big Orange in Jefferson is the coolest.

Okay you lost me now. I'm familiar with it but guess not that familiar with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay you lost me now. I'm familiar with it but guess not that familiar with it.

Actually, I think it's in Redfield. It'a restaurant serving in typical drive-in stuff shaped like a gigantic orange. It's really unusual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I think it's in Redfield. It'a restaurant serving in typical drive-in stuff shaped like a gigantic orange. It's really unusual.

No, can't say I've heard of that one. I do know about the Icehouse over in Sheridan. Great place to go to eat catfish. I know a lot of people drive from Pine Bluff to go eat there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.