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mcheiss

What's in Store for Arkansas in the Future?

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I've often wondered what Arkansas is going to become in the future?

I don't know if cities like Ft. Smith or Conway will ever become big city metro's, or if NWA's "white only" perception will change.

I want to hear your guys opinions on this.

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A reflection of Oklahoma.

OK's major metro areas sort of look like this:

/

Ours will look like this: \

So, across the state line "{sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}}", it will look like this:

/ {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} \

Get my drift?

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A reflection of Oklahoma.

OK's major metro areas sort of look like this:

/

Ours will look like this: \

So, across the state line "{sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}}", it will look like this:

/ {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} \

Get my drift?

What?

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I've often wondered what Arkansas is going to become in the future?

I don't know if cities like Ft. Smith or Conway will ever become big city metro's, or if NWA's "white only" perception will change.

I want to hear your guys opinions on this.

Overall I think we're going to still see just two main metros, NWA and Little Rock. I think Conway will still grow but will have a hard time not being more intertwined with the Little Rock/North Little Rock area. Ft Smith has potential but I can't say I feel that I like it's chances. I think it's proximity to NWA will hinder it somewhat. I also think NWA's image will change as well. But you can't go from being almost all white and change that overnight. I think what we're seeing is good but it will just take some time. I wonder though if that image will take longer to shed than the actual thing itself.

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Let me tell you, this is a hard one. If you'd asked this question 30 years ago you might've had people say that Pine Bluff would be a city of 100,000 and it and LR would be growing together. I don't think many people back then every saw NWA eclipsing Ft Smith, let alone in some ways eclipsing Little Rock.

One variable you can't see coming can change so much. An Enron or Worldcom incident could really cripple the job market in NWA or even LR. If Murphy Oil became the next major oil company Union County might look like Benton County does now. You never know.

As a general trend I see a steadily rising Hispanic population across the state, particularly in Central and NWA. I think we'll see a shift towards the urban centers as most of the state's rural counties, particularly in the delta, continue to lose population in dramatic fashion. At the same time I think that Washington and Benton Cos will continue to prosper as will the counties ringing Pulaski and the counties just outside the current LR MSA - White, Garland, Pope, etc. I bet we'll see more suburbanization of the areas near Memphis. I think Pulaski Co will continue to grow but at a modest rate unless something dramatic changes in the LR job market or major issues like crime and schools are corrected.

As Conway grows I see it integrating more with LR/NLR and becoming more contiguous as opposed to becoming a separate metro area. Cabot is going to be a large city and very well might end up being LR's poshest suburb.

Pine Bluff seems to be withering away. I don't know what can happen to slow or reverse it but I bet it levels off sometime soon, I just don't see it prospering again.

Fort Smith still has a large regional service industry, as does Pine Bluff. It really needs more industries nad particularly white collar jobs since it lost Beverly. Again, it's just hard to predict whether this will happen.

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Good points. There very well could be some events that none of us could expect in the future. I had forgotten to mention the Hispanic aspect. Who knows one day with Arkansas proximity to Texas and the border Arkansas may one day be seen as some sort of Hispanic state. Perhaps we'll develop a new culture merging Arkansas' current culture with Mexico's just like all the border states have. The real factor though I think will be jobs. Immigrants always go where the jobs are. That's the reason why the north was rather diverse compared to the south long ago. I think I agree with your accessments on each city. I just have a hard time seeing Pine Bluff managing to reverse it's current trend. Probably the best it can do is simply slow it down. I'm not saying they shouldn't try. But it's hard to imagine it happening. I'd also like to hear more people make some predictions on Jonesboro. So far it's about the only place in eastern Arkansas that's growing and not in decline. Does anyone think this will continue or will the decline the rest of eastern Arkansas eventually catch up to it? I've wondered if NWA manages to keep the growth going at a good pace if Ft Smith might end up being a bedroom community for NWA. I don't think we'll see sprawling growth along I-540 down to Ft Smith. But as the population keeps growing up here and so do the home prices. I could see people perhaps going to Ft Smith for cheaper houses, maybe buy a nice home in the historical district down there for a lot less than you could buy something up here. Maybe Ft Smith will become the next Springdale. The only thing holding that back I think is either growth slows down here in NWA or fuel prices would make it unrealistic that people would want to live in Ft Smith and travel to NWA every day. Perhaps if they manage to set up some sort of public transportation between the two areas....

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Good points. There very well could be some events that none of us could expect in the future. I had forgotten to mention the Hispanic aspect. Who knows one day with Arkansas proximity to Texas and the border Arkansas may one day be seen as some sort of Hispanic state. Perhaps we'll develop a new culture merging Arkansas' current culture with Mexico's just like all the border states have. The real factor though I think will be jobs. Immigrants always go where the jobs are. That's the reason why the north was rather diverse compared to the south long ago. I think I agree with your accessments on each city. I just have a hard time seeing Pine Bluff managing to reverse it's current trend. Probably the best it can do is simply slow it down. I'm not saying they shouldn't try. But it's hard to imagine it happening. I'd

I've got a question.

Who thinks that the Black population will pick up in NWA? I know it won't ever become anything like Little Rock's, but could anyone see NWA having around a 3-5% of African Americans?

Also, I haven't mentioned this before, but Ft. Smith's population is bound for a singel A Minor League Baseball team. I think Ft. Smith metro is just the right size for one, and would be a great tourist attraction to the area.

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Very interesting but it is hard to tell what will happen in the future. I see no reason that LR will not continue to expand it's number of state workers. It is always hard for government to control self growth. There should also be an expansion in the health sector. Jonesboro/Paragould will be the hot spots in Eastern Arkansas unless that part of the state is destroyed by an earthquake. As for NWA the hen that laid the golden egg, by that time, might have played out. How long will Wal-Mart continue at the top? It is already having trouble in some of it's overseas markets. Companies have a habit of being on top for only so long until another player or market conditions cause a change. Look at A&P, AT&T, Sears, Pan Am, at one time they were at the top of their sectors. Who would have thought 30 years ago GM would be fighting to stay ahead of Toyota. A few years ago AOL was going to run the internet. That did not happen. Will Wal-Mart be able to adjust to an aging population? One that will spend less on the products they are now pushing. The question is will NWA be able to develop enough to continue it's growth if Wal-Mart slows down.

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I've got a question.

Who thinks that the Black population will pick up in NWA? I know it won't ever become anything like Little Rock's, but could anyone see NWA having around a 3-5% of African Americans?

Also, I haven't mentioned this before, but Ft. Smith's population is bound for a singel A Minor League Baseball team. I think Ft. Smith metro is just the right size for one, and would be a great tourist attraction to the area.

There's no Single A team that could come to Arkansas, it's too far from the leagues. if they could I think NWA would've had minor league baseball a long time ago. This is precisely why it was AA ball or Indy league for NWA. I could see Ft Smith with an Indy league team. They played around with trying to get AA ball down there, I'm not exactly sure what happened there. It's not going to happen now, though.

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There's no Single A team that could come to Arkansas, it's too far from the leagues. if they could I think NWA would've had minor league baseball a long time ago. This is precisely why it was AA ball or Indy league for NWA. I could see Ft Smith with an Indy league team.

That's what I meant. a Single A Independant League Team.

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That's what I meant. a Single A Independant League Team.

Indy leagues don't even get an A. They're just there.

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Indy leagues don't even get an A. They're just there.

What I ment was a lower tier minor league baseball team, not a Major League affiliated team. I was just confusing the two by accident. :D

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Very interesting but it is hard to tell what will happen in the future. I see no reason that LR will not continue to expand it's number of state workers. It is always hard for government to control self growth. There should also be an expansion in the health sector. Jonesboro/Paragould will be the hot spots in Eastern Arkansas unless that part of the state is destroyed by an earthquake. As for NWA the hen that laid the golden egg, by that time, might have played out. How long will Wal-Mart continue at the top? It is already having trouble in some of it's overseas markets. Companies have a habit of being on top for only so long until another player or market conditions cause a change. Look at A&P, AT&T, Sears, Pan Am, at one time they were at the top of their sectors. Who would have thought 30 years ago GM would be fighting to stay ahead of Toyota. A few years ago AOL was going to run the internet. That did not happen. Will Wal-Mart be able to adjust to an aging population? One that will spend less on the products they are now pushing. The question is will NWA be able to develop enough to continue it's growth if Wal-Mart slows down.

One thing's for sure, never has a metro been so tied to a single company. Fayetteville is relatively insulated because of the university but the white collar atmosphere in NWA would melt in a second if something happened to Wal-Mart. It could be worst real estate crash I've ever heard of, God forbid.

If you look at revenues WM's numbers are staggering but their profits are modest. I do wonder if WM will deal well when retail climates change. Considering they only really hit it big in the mid-90s I think WM is good for another decade without hitting any skids but after that we'll have to see what retail trends ensue.

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A reflection of Oklahoma.

OK's major metro areas sort of look like this:

/

Ours will look like this: \

So, across the state line "{sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}}", it will look like this:

/ {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} \

Get my drift?

So by adding Kansas \ and Missouri / to the equation what we end up with is more like this:

\ {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} /

/ {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} \

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So by adding Kansas \ and Missouri / to the equation what we end up with is more like this:

\ {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} /

/ {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} \

Oooh a bug!!

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So by adding Kansas \ and Missouri / to the equation what we end up with is more like this:

\ {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} /

/ {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} \

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EXACTLY.

I think.

LOL.

Ok, let me explain again.

Think of the metros of OK City and Tulsa. Tulsa is northeast of OK city.

Think of the metros of LR and NWA. NW AR is northwest of Little Rock.

So draw a connecting line between OK city and Tulsa and you get: /

Now draw a connecting line between NW AR and LR and you get: \

So, essentially, the border between the states is like a mirror: /{sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}}\

The "{sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}}" represents the border.

Got it?

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So, philosophically NWA sees itself as an OKC or a LR, but is really only seeing a reflection of one or the other and not of itself, which means that NWA is really just a mirror that can't possibly see it's own reflection because OKC and LR are the only reflections in the mirror and NWA is the mirror. Close?

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I'll make some wildly unsubstaniated predicitions to go along with everyone else :P

1.) NWA - Wal-Mart will be around for awhile, but the key to growth here is in the Wal-Mart "halo" affect. Many other companies are locating branch offices in the area, and other companies are cropping up in response to the presence of Wal-Mart and the transplants. Also, the University is pursuing the creation of a research park. I feel Fayetteville's desitny is to become a research center, thereby creating a symbiotic relationship between the research and consumer industries. The close proximity to Tulsa will help that relationship along, I think.

2.) Fort Smith - A bedroom community for NWA (if the transportation structure exists), or a blue collar version of NWA. Companies locate their corporate headquarters in NWA, and their production operations down along the river/rail/road of Ft. Smith.

3.) Conway - will become an ex-erb of the Little Rock MSA, but also I think with the growth of UCA and Hendrix will help it become an education center for the state, rivaling Fayetteville & the UA. Expect to see this area become a research center as well. In fact, I think their is a strong potential to form a research corridor between Little Rock and Conway.

4.) Little Rock - Here is the renissance city. The center of state politics will gain more attention as Arkansas continues to become a national political player. I also believe Little Rock is poised to become a major medical research center for the mid-south, taking advantage of its location between Memphis & Dallas. The art/culture scene is on the rise, and Little Rock could be the next Austin (well, something like it). Of course, this is all dependant on addressing the crime & school issues.

5.) Outside Little Rock (not Conway) - Suburbs abound in Cabot, Bryant, Benton, Lonoke. West Little Rock will grow so far that it will eventually become its own place, like North Little Rock. Speaking of NLR, the two cities will have to become even closer, with lines continuing to be blurred. Places like Beebe and Carlise may become ex-erbs along with Conway.

6.) Pine Bluff - hard to say on this one. An ex-erb of Little Rock, or it could reestablish itself. Companies could be attracted to the area because of its location near LR, along a major roadway, and cheap location costs. I can't make any real predictions here.

7. Jonesboro - Jonesboro I think could grow like NWA, because of its proximity to Memphis. I believe the key to what happens in Jonesboro is what happens in Memphis. Sadly, a major disaster (earthquake) could really destroy this region. So, there might not be a Jonesboro in the future. I'm also interested to see what happens when UCA & ASU compete for the number 2 spot among Arkansas universities.

8. Texarkana - I don't see a lot happening here. It depends on what happens in Little Rock, and how important Little Rock becomes to Dallas.

9. Southeast AR - I like this area for the next big boom. The area is ripe for development, and the new interstate could bring it. But does a town exist here that would be a candidate to become the anchor of the area? Or will it have to be created?

10. Hot Springs - If Arkansas legalizes gambling, say Hello New Las Vegas!! At the same time, Hot Springs has the best chance of any place in Arkansas to become the "family destination." Magic Springs has seen recent success, and if there's one thing Hot Springs knows how to do, it's show people a good time. The entertainment capital of Arkansas.

11. North Central Arkansas (my stomping grounds) - this will become to place where people go to retire, and get away from the hustle and bustle. The area is very rugged, and only US 412 & 65 exists as major thoroughfares. Mtn. Home will beomce an even bigger retirement area than it is. Also (what I would like to see), this area may be a good candidate for companies looking to outsource certain operations.

Again, these are completely unsubstaniated predicitons. I'm just guessing. Did I miss anything? I tried to be a utopian as possible. :lol:

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Since there doesn't appear to be anyone here to represent Fort Smith, I'll chime in again..

Also, I haven't mentioned this before, but Ft. Smith's population is bound for a singel A Minor League Baseball team. I think Ft. Smith metro is just the right size for one, and would be a great tourist attraction to the area.

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I'll make some wildly unsubstaniated predicitions to go along with everyone else :P

1.) NWA - Wal-Mart will be around for awhile, but the key to growth here is in the Wal-Mart "halo" affect. Many other companies are locating branch offices in the area, and other companies are cropping up in response to the presence of Wal-Mart and the transplants. Also, the University is pursuing the creation of a research park. I feel Fayetteville's desitny is to become a research center, thereby creating a symbiotic relationship between the research and consumer industries. The close proximity to Tulsa will help that relationship along, I think.

2.) Fort Smith - A bedroom community for NWA (if the transportation structure exists), or a blue collar version of NWA. Companies locate their corporate headquarters in NWA, and their production operations down along the river/rail/road of Ft. Smith.

3.) Conway - will become an ex-erb of the Little Rock MSA, but also I think with the growth of UCA and Hendrix will help it become an education center for the state, rivaling Fayetteville & the UA. Expect to see this area become a research center as well. In fact, I think their is a strong potential to form a research corridor between Little Rock and Conway.

4.) Little Rock - Here is the renissance city. The center of state politics will gain more attention as Arkansas continues to become a national political player. I also believe Little Rock is poised to become a major medical research center for the mid-south, taking advantage of its location between Memphis & Dallas. The art/culture scene is on the rise, and Little Rock could be the next Austin (well, something like it). Of course, this is all dependant on addressing the crime & school issues.

5.) Outside Little Rock (not Conway) - Suburbs abound in Cabot, Bryant, Benton, Lonoke. West Little Rock will grow so far that it will eventually become its own place, like North Little Rock. Speaking of NLR, the two cities will have to become even closer, with lines continuing to be blurred. Places like Beebe and Carlise may become ex-erbs along with Conway.

6.) Pine Bluff - hard to say on this one. An ex-erb of Little Rock, or it could reestablish itself. Companies could be attracted to the area because of its location near LR, along a major roadway, and cheap location costs. I can't make any real predictions here.

7. Jonesboro - Jonesboro I think could grow like NWA, because of its proximity to Memphis. I believe the key to what happens in Jonesboro is what happens in Memphis. Sadly, a major disaster (earthquake) could really destroy this region. So, there might not be a Jonesboro in the future. I'm also interested to see what happens when UCA & ASU compete for the number 2 spot among Arkansas universities.

8. Texarkana - I don't see a lot happening here. It depends on what happens in Little Rock, and how important Little Rock becomes to Dallas.

9. Southeast AR - I like this area for the next big boom. The area is ripe for development, and the new interstate could bring it. But does a town exist here that would be a candidate to become the anchor of the area? Or will it have to be created?

10. Hot Springs - If Arkansas legalizes gambling, say Hello New Las Vegas!! At the same time, Hot Springs has the best chance of any place in Arkansas to become the "family destination." Magic Springs has seen recent success, and if there's one thing Hot Springs knows how to do, it's show people a good time. The entertainment capital of Arkansas.

11. North Central Arkansas (my stomping grounds) - this will become to place where people go to retire, and get away from the hustle and bustle. The area is very rugged, and only US 412 & 65 exists as major thoroughfares. Mtn. Home will beomce an even bigger retirement area than it is. Also (what I would like to see), this area may be a good candidate for companies looking to outsource certain operations.

Again, these are completely unsubstaniated predicitons. I'm just guessing. Did I miss anything? I tried to be a utopian as possible. :lol:

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Yeah nice to see some of these coffeeshop topics get some action. :D

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I'll make some wildly unsubstaniated predicitions to go along with everyone else :P

1.) NWA - Wal-Mart will be around for awhile, but the key to growth here is in the Wal-Mart "halo" affect. Many other companies are locating branch offices in the area, and other companies are cropping up in response to the presence of Wal-Mart and the transplants. Also, the University is pursuing the creation of a research park. I feel Fayetteville's desitny is to become a research center, thereby creating a symbiotic relationship between the research and consumer industries. The close proximity to Tulsa will help that relationship along, I think.

2.) Fort Smith - A bedroom community for NWA (if the transportation structure exists), or a blue collar version of NWA. Companies locate their corporate headquarters in NWA, and their production operations down along the river/rail/road of Ft. Smith.

3.) Conway - will become an ex-erb of the Little Rock MSA, but also I think with the growth of UCA and Hendrix will help it become an education center for the state, rivaling Fayetteville & the UA. Expect to see this area become a research center as well. In fact, I think their is a strong potential to form a research corridor between Little Rock and Conway.

4.) Little Rock - Here is the renissance city. The center of state politics will gain more attention as Arkansas continues to become a national political player. I also believe Little Rock is poised to become a major medical research center for the mid-south, taking advantage of its location between Memphis & Dallas. The art/culture scene is on the rise, and Little Rock could be the next Austin (well, something like it). Of course, this is all dependant on addressing the crime & school issues.

5.) Outside Little Rock (not Conway) - Suburbs abound in Cabot, Bryant, Benton, Lonoke. West Little Rock will grow so far that it will eventually become its own place, like North Little Rock. Speaking of NLR, the two cities will have to become even closer, with lines continuing to be blurred. Places like Beebe and Carlise may become ex-erbs along with Conway.

6.) Pine Bluff - hard to say on this one. An ex-erb of Little Rock, or it could reestablish itself. Companies could be attracted to the area because of its location near LR, along a major roadway, and cheap location costs. I can't make any real predictions here.

7. Jonesboro - Jonesboro I think could grow like NWA, because of its proximity to Memphis. I believe the key to what happens in Jonesboro is what happens in Memphis. Sadly, a major disaster (earthquake) could really destroy this region. So, there might not be a Jonesboro in the future. I'm also interested to see what happens when UCA & ASU compete for the number 2 spot among Arkansas universities.

8. Texarkana - I don't see a lot happening here. It depends on what happens in Little Rock, and how important Little Rock becomes to Dallas.

9. Southeast AR - I like this area for the next big boom. The area is ripe for development, and the new interstate could bring it. But does a town exist here that would be a candidate to become the anchor of the area? Or will it have to be created?

10. Hot Springs - If Arkansas legalizes gambling, say Hello New Las Vegas!! At the same time, Hot Springs has the best chance of any place in Arkansas to become the "family destination." Magic Springs has seen recent success, and if there's one thing Hot Springs knows how to do, it's show people a good time. The entertainment capital of Arkansas.

11. North Central Arkansas (my stomping grounds) - this will become to place where people go to retire, and get away from the hustle and bustle. The area is very rugged, and only US 412 & 65 exists as major thoroughfares. Mtn. Home will beomce an even bigger retirement area than it is. Also (what I would like to see), this area may be a good candidate for companies looking to outsource certain operations.

Again, these are completely unsubstaniated predicitons. I'm just guessing. Did I miss anything? I tried to be a utopian as possible. :lol:

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