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soverbey

Arkansas in the Memphis Region

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Why do you think the Arkansas area that is included in the Memphis MSA is not growing like all other segments of the region? There are two bridges for commuters and upgrades have been made to both interstates with regard to travel to and from Crittenden County.

Why is Arkansas, particularly Crittenden County not a suburban sprawl mecca like DeSoto County?

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A number of reasons off the top of my head--

Crittenden is considered a "bad" part of town--truck stops and crime, and generally considered low-class, probably unfairly.

The river I think is a psychological barrier.

Having said that, Marion is apparently growing pretty rapidly from what I've read.

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Why do you think the Arkansas area that is included in the Memphis MSA is not growing like all other segments of the region? There are two bridges for commuters and upgrades have been made to both interstates with regard to travel to and from Crittenden County.

Why is Arkansas, particularly Crittenden County not a suburban sprawl mecca like DeSoto County?

I think the fact that there are only two bridges in the area is a big factor, as is the treatment of the area by the state. Increase the number of bridges, and that makes access better. Improve the I-55 bridge and the interchange by Crump/Riverside Drive. And then the Arkansas legislature needs to be more responsive to the needs in that area. I think it has also hurt that some industries have left, such as Blytheville's AFB, and it doesn't appear, at least so far, that the state has a plan to help the area recover.

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There is some decent residential growth in Marion, which has worked hard to position itself as a quiet, safe, livable suburb. The biggest problem for Marion is that it is a 10 mile drive to Downtown Memphis, and even further to the other employment centers of the region. Even worse, there aren't many retail opportunities except for your typical small-town fare...Walmart, etc.

West Memphis is simply not desirable as a suburb. There are some newer developments on the west side, but the majority of the town is truck stops and deteriorating buildings.

Crittenden Co. has tried hard to attract major employers. Marion was thought to have a very good chance at two different Toyota plants, in the past 2-3 years, but got passed over both times. The site they were promoting was favorably received, so there's still a reasonable chance that a car maker or other major manufacturer might move in there.

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I think Crittenden Co. niche in the metro should be auto or plane manufacturing. The river is a physical boundary because the Memphis' road grid doesn't expand into Arkansas like it does into Mississippi. There are only 2 roads into Arkansas but 30+ that go into Mississippi. I also heard Memphis is where the river is the widest so a buncha bridges is a bit unfeasible. If there were more bridges Memphis and West Memphis would be like the other cities along the river like Minneapolis-St.Paul, St. Louis-East St. Louis, and New Orleans.

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I think Crittenden Co. niche in the metro should be auto or plane manufacturing. The river is a physical boundary because the Memphis' road grid doesn't expand into Arkansas like it does into Mississippi. There are only 2 roads into Arkansas but 30+ that go into Mississippi. I also heard Memphis is where the river is the widest so a buncha bridges is a bit unfeasible. If there were more bridges Memphis and West Memphis would be like the other cities along the river like Minneapolis-St.Paul, St. Louis-East St. Louis, and New Orleans.

There have been rumors for a bridge north of downtown and one south of it (maybe even as far south as Mississippi). This doesn't take into account the 69 bridge between MS and AR. I remember hearing this back in the CA, the desire for it is because the 55 isn't up to earthquake code, and there are so few crossings between St. Louis and New Orleans anyway.

The article was way before a recent report of the expense and delay of retrofitting the Hernando Desoto bridge. Given what we know now, I doubt TDOT will ever support another retrofit of a major bridge in Memphis.

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I think Crittenden Co. niche in the metro should be auto or plane manufacturing. The river is a physical boundary because the Memphis' road grid doesn't expand into Arkansas like it does into Mississippi. There are only 2 roads into Arkansas but 30+ that go into Mississippi. I also heard Memphis is where the river is the widest so a buncha bridges is a bit unfeasible. If there were more bridges Memphis and West Memphis would be like the other cities along the river like Minneapolis-St.Paul, St. Louis-East St. Louis, and New Orleans.

NEW orleans has 3 bridges, St Louis has 8. I got sick of counting the bridges along minneapolis, but its more than 20. a quick size comparison with google earth though... the MS river in Minnesota is just hardly larger than the Wolf River.

the engineering to continue memphis's grid across the MS river is too expensive. it works in other cities

A)the river is much smaller

B)They do not have a river flood plain like the arkansas side of the river does. their flood control is essentially walls they put up when the time comes. West Memphis sits far from the river because the river dikes are placed far from the river. if you want i can provide the satellite imagry to show this. This is the same reason why both sides of the river at New orleans are both developed extensivly, the wall is close to the river.

C) in New orleans, even there the grid is seperated from both sides( they only have 3 bridges)

D) You can not expect the street grid to continue past the river like it does in say: Pittsburg. where dinky rivers are in their way. MS river is a lot harder and more difficult engineering task to contruct bridges across than the rivers in Pittsburg or the MS river in Minneapolis.

here are a list of bridges crossing the MS river

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Brid...ssissippi_River

btw the person who took the photo of the hernando de Soto bridge is me. my wikipedia user account is Barcode.

Bridges isnt the problem. Building a bridge will not create enough new demand to west memphis to overcome poverty, crime and lack of development. I-40 and I-55 are hardly choked with traffic as it is. Engineering a new bridge that costs millions of dollars, will possibly displace people from their homes, and tieing it in with existing traffic systems will not solve west memphis's 'lack of growth'.

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My wife's family used to live in west memphis, and they still own rental property there. I hear that crime there was bad 20 years ago and has only gotten worse.

As for the rental property, they can't find a decent renter. Everyone in the rental market in WM are apparently bums. My father in law has had 3 renters in the past 12 months, and they all stop paying rent after the first month, and Arkansas law makes it difficult to evict anyone. I've told him to sell, but he says the house isn't worth much more than it was in 1985. He said he could probably sell for $50k - $75k at best for a 1300 sq. ft house. Can you believe that? That's nothing!

Anyone here have anything good to say about WM?

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I feel like the WM area would have been better off if it wasnt so flat, thats what promoted this agriculture/manufacturing industry that makes up the entire area. Its not a desirable area to build homes. Marion is the only real hope for substantial development in the future.

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Wasn't Marion supposed to be in the running for getting a Boeing plant to manufacture the 787? I remember during the whole Wright Ammendment fiasco a few years ago that there were talks to build an airport across the river for all the airlines that had been jilted by MEM due to Northwest (i.e. Southwest and other discount carriers) and it would be connected directly to downtown by extending the monorail across the river; however, that never came to fruition and I don't believe it will now that Tunica is getting air service (plus Southwest can fly into Tunica).

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Wasn't Marion supposed to be in the running for getting a Boeing plant to manufacture the 787? I remember during the whole Wright Ammendment fiasco a few years ago that there were talks to build an airport across the river for all the airlines that had been jilted by MEM due to Northwest (i.e. Southwest and other discount carriers) and it would be connected directly to downtown by extending the monorail across the river; however, that never came to fruition and I don't believe it will now that Tunica is getting air service (plus Southwest can fly into Tunica).

No, there's no airport there. Millington and Blytheville were in the running, and were both in the final 10 before getting whittled away. Hopefully Millington and Blytheville can find an aviation related target to seize, and Marion can seize an auto assembler.

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No, there's no airport there. Millington and Blytheville were in the running, and were both in the final 10 before getting whittled away. Hopefully Millington and Blytheville can find an aviation related target to seize, and Marion can seize an auto assembler.

While I'm a Boeing fan, maybe Airbus wants a North American factory!

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I remember during the whole Wright Ammendment fiasco a few years ago that there were talks to build an airport across the river for all the airlines that had been jilted by MEM due to Northwest (i.e. Southwest and other discount carriers) and it would be connected directly to downtown by extending the monorail across the river; however, that never came to fruition and I don't believe it will now that Tunica is getting air service (plus Southwest can fly into Tunica).

The West Memphis Airport has a 6,000 foot runway, which could accommodate a 737. WM officials talked about attracting SWA service from DAL (Love Field) all through the '90s, as the Wright Amendment permits flight from DAL to Arkansas but not to Tennessee or Mississippi.

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While I'm a Boeing fan, maybe Airbus wants a North American factory!

There has already been a competition about that. Airbus was/is in pursuit of the tanker deal for the US military (replacing KC 135s). Mobile won. Don't know if Airbus was chosen by the Pentagon; I presume not.

Not to say inland cities can't house airplane assembly plants. Cities like St. Louis build military jets. And I think either Omaha or Ok City builds private jets like Cessnas or something.

Another thing we might want to consider is a space port. The one connected with Virgin is scheduled to trigger a high tech boom in New Mexico. Considering how the Xprize winner didn't involve jettisoning flaming booster stages, it's not as risky to host the next generation space port as it would be to have a Cape Canaveral type of facility. Either manufacture the vessels/or send them off from, say, Blytheville, WM, or Millington if MEM weren't an option. Maybe FedExGalactic. A new way to send satellites? No longer just the world on time. And given NASA's delays, there's a market for quicker sendoffs that don't explode on liftoff.

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I think Crittenden Co. niche in the metro should be auto or plane manufacturing. The river is a physical boundary because the Memphis' road grid doesn't expand into Arkansas like it does into Mississippi. There are only 2 roads into Arkansas but 30+ that go into Mississippi. I also heard Memphis is where the river is the widest so a buncha bridges is a bit unfeasible. If there were more bridges Memphis and West Memphis would be like the other cities along the river like Minneapolis-St.Paul, St. Louis-East St. Louis, and New Orleans.

The difference between Minneapolis and the River is that up here/there, the river is about as wide as Nonconnah Creek, and you have the city's grid extending on both sides.

In New Orleans, the river is not as wide and the levees run immediately up to the river, allowing development right up to the riverfront. Also, a few of those cities on the westbank of New Orleans--Gretna, for example, founded in 1808--were cities that grew up independently of New Orleans as separate ports. New Orleans also had an extensive passenger ferry service. Pre-Katrina, there were still 3 ferry lines.

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In terms of geography and availability of cheap land, Crittenden Co. should be an easy sell for manufacturing. The problem is a lack of skilled labor. That has been cited as a problem for the entire Memphis region, and a big reason why we're America's Distribution Center rather than America's Manufacturing Center. We've got plenty of people who can move boxes or do light assembly work, but not enough engineers, technicians, and machinists to staff large factories. Nashville has us whipped there, as evidenced by this week's Gateway Computer plant announcement.

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In terms of geography and availability of cheap land, Crittenden Co. should be an easy sell for manufacturing. The problem is a lack of skilled labor. That has been cited as a problem for the entire Memphis region, and a big reason why we're America's Distribution Center rather than America's Manufacturing Center. We've got plenty of people who can move boxes or do light assembly work, but not enough engineers, technicians, and machinists to staff large factories. Nashville has us whipped there, as evidenced by this week's Gateway Computer plant announcement.

I think the reason for this has to be education. Memphis has gotten much better in the past year in getting people prepared for the biotech and automotive jobs. East Arkansas Community (Forrest City) and Midsouth Community (West Memphis) are rapidly expanding and are preparing students for the Hino Plant and don't forget the Mazda parts plant that was built in Olive Branch. We have the mega-site next to the Hino plant in Marion and another one in Tunica. Plus, don't forget about Presidents Island which is pretty much all chemical production. Lafarge (concrete) is in North Memphis, and the biotech/medical products are mostly in the south. I think it may have been a good idea to get into distribution first because its a solid industry. No matter what happens, products will have to move. These jobs don't pay well but are a strong point for relocations in the future. I think Ole Miss put a small campus in Desoto County but we need another big university in North Mississippi. Also, why are we the only division in the state w/o a state university? We have ETSU, MTSU, so WTSU has to come someday :thumbsup: Next step for production in West Tennessee should be auto, pharmacutical, computers, and aerospace. Our location on 4 interstates and being the "Distribution Center of America" should help alot.

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As stated earlier the Arkansas side of the metro is growing some around Marion, but its disconnection from Memphis due to the floodplain and the river makes its ability capatilize as being part of the metro considerably harder I would imagine.

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