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idlewild

Why?

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Why does it seem like the citizens and government of Arkansas don't seem to support or care about the East side of Arkansas including the Delta, West Memphis, etc.

It seems like the entire rest of the state looks down upon this region and doesn't support it at all, what's the deal?

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Why does it seem like the citizens and government of Arkansas don't seem to support or care about the East side of Arkansas including the Delta, West Memphis, etc.

It seems like the entire rest of the state looks down upon this region and doesn't support it at all, what's the deal?

I disagree with the premise of this question. I wouldn't say that people "look down" on the Delta as much as they realize that it's not doing very well. I love the Delta's culture and people; my family is from there. Hopefully the region finds a way to transition to the modern economy. It depended on agriculture for so long, particularly cotton, that it didn't develop enough job diversity. It's hard because of the poor school systems, which are not helped by some local government corruption.

I don't understand why you think the government of Arkansas doesn't care about the region, when it has representatives in the state government just like any other part of the state.

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Maybe the question of why should be ask as "Why would any business want to locate in the Eastern/Delta part of the state? The Congress ruined the small towns in Eastern Arkansas with price supports of certain farmers. Today's farmer can only exist by getting bigger but this does not result in more hired labor. Unless the U.S. government's outlook on agriculture changes from a export point of view to more of a local market basket approach then the Delta will continue to decline. Why should a majority of produce, milk and beef consumed in Arkansas come from out of state? A emergency farm bill before the Senate will give certain famers money even if they do not plant. Don't blame the people from other parts of the state for the condition of the Delta. There is no one to blame but those who hold the power in that part of the state.

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Maybe the question of why should be ask as "Why would any business want to locate in the Eastern/Delta part of the state? The Congress ruined the small towns in Eastern Arkansas with price supports of certain farmers. Today's farmer can only exist by getting bigger but this does not result in more hired labor. Unless the U.S. government's outlook on agriculture changes from a export point of view to more of a local market basket approach then the Delta will continue to decline. Why should a majority of produce, milk and beef consumed in Arkansas come from out of state? A emergency farm bill before the Senate will give certain famers money even if they do not plant. Don't blame the people from other parts of the state for the condition of the Delta. There is no one to blame but those who hold the power in that part of the state.

Well said. "Wellfare for Farmers" hurts the Delta's economy.

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I disagree with the premise of this question. I wouldn't say that people "look down" on the Delta as much as they realize that it's not doing very well. I love the Delta's culture and people; my family is from there. Hopefully the region finds a way to transition to the modern economy. It depended on agriculture for so long, particularly cotton, that it didn't develop enough job diversity. It's hard because of the poor school systems, which are not helped by some local government corruption.

I don't understand why you think the government of Arkansas doesn't care about the region, when it has representatives in the state government just like any other part of the state.

Well put.

I think the state as a works harder to bring jobs to the delta than to the Central and NW parts of the state that have less trouble getting them. Just look at the efforts to bring an auto plant to Marion. In fact, there has been some success in bringing some smaller auto-related plants there already. In addition, the state makes every effort to bring jobs to Pine Bluff despite the challenges in doing so.

There are myriad problems in the delta. High unemployment, poor test scores and graduation rates, and waning populations lead to a self-perpetuating cycle. Only the lowest-paying industries are interested in relocating to these counties and that isn't what we need there. Also those raised in the delta that leave and become well-educated seldom return.

The two major metros along with Ft Smith, Hot Springs, Texarkana, etc are sending big chunks of their tax money the delta's way. The rest of the state is helping support the delta and most of it isn't griping about it.

I want the delta to prosper but there's no easy solution. It would be nice if new high-paying industries like an auto plant and biodiesel factories could be introduced.

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Where did this dramatic question come from? Is there a reason behind it? News?

Premise indeed is without merit IMO.

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Trust me when I say the Delta area gets first pickings when it comes to Federal/State money. As a college student I worked on trying to get state grant to build a city trail in Fayetteville. When I was told that a city in the southeast part of the state was competing for the same grant, I was told to start looking elsewhere for funds because the Delta area will get it first, regardless.

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Trust me when I say the Delta area gets first pickings when it comes to Federal/State money. As a college student I worked on trying to get state grant to build a city trail in Fayetteville. When I was told that a city in the southeast part of the state was competing for the same grant, I was told to start looking elsewhere for funds because the Delta area will get it first, regardless.

They need it. I often feel bad when NWA Cities get nice new schools while parts of the delta hardly get upgrades.

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I think every state has a less prosperous part, and prosperity tends to be cyclical. In the early days of the state, up until probably the 60s, the Delta was the most propserous part of Arkansas because agriculture was (and is) king. But as our state's economy diversified, generations of people that might have been farmers decided to relocate to other areas to puruse other careers. This, coupled with the slow demise of the family farm at the hands of mega-agri-corporations and farm subsidy programs, and the incredible success of other kinds of industry (retail, tourism) lead us to where we are today. Of course, this isn't a sweeping explaination, but it proves the point that I made earlier: proseprity moves around.

The Delta paved the way for Arkansas to grow, and the Delta will have its day again. I think there are a lot more people out there trying to realize that dream than you/we know.

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..prosperity tends to be cyclical.

The Delta paved the way for Arkansas to grow, and the Delta will have its day again. I think there are a lot more people out there trying to realize that dream than you/we know.

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Great point. It wasn't all that long ago that NWA (Benton and Madison Co., for example) was considered the hopelessly backwards drag on Arkansas. Even just a few decades ago, you would have comments such as Lou Holtz "It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from there" about Fayetteville. Who would have guessed some discount store would lead to what we have now? And who is to say how long the empire will stand before it goes the way of K-Mart?

The boon years won't last forever and the Delta won't stay down forever.

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A bit off topic, but related:

If you want to read a great history of sharecropping in Arkansas, try Revolt of The Sharecroppers by Howard Kester (ISBN-10: 0-87049-975-0). I had to read it for an Arkansas History course I took in college, and it really opened my eyes to one of the most significant events in Arkansas' past. It also really give you a strong background for understanding why things are the way they are in the Delta.

Plus, my grandfather was a soybean farmer in Tyronza (center of the revolt) and, as a child, was witness first-hand to the revolt. He filled in a lot of details for me. The story is incredible.

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I've been hesitant to get into this topic. I've brought up topics somewhat similar to this and gotten people 'fired up' when it wasn't my intention. Having lived in both southeast Arkansas and NWA I think I've seen both mindsets. People in the Delta see it as NWA is already set up nicely and improvements need to be made in the Delta to try to help get things going there and get it back up to standard. But people in NWA tend to see it as they have real growth and are adding serious tax money into the state and the state needs to help keep the growth going. That throwing money at a problem like the Delta won't solve any problems. Now I'm not trying to say either view is correct, but it just seems to be the general consensus for both areas.

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I would say the Delta needs more help right now.

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well i can tell you that the interstates in East Arkansas are absolutely horrible. Not sure if that's the case for the entire state. I-55, I-40, and the future I-555 are all in really bad shape and need a lot of work. Everytime I drive through E. Arkansas I come back to Memphis and have to get my car checked out b/c of how bumpy the roads are.

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well i can tell you that the interstates in East Arkansas are absolutely horrible. Not sure if that's the case for the entire state. I-55, I-40, and the future I-555 are all in really bad shape and need a lot of work. Everytime I drive through E. Arkansas I come back to Memphis and have to get my car checked out b/c of how bumpy the roads are.

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They've all been recently repaved, haven't they?

The I-40 segment between Little Rock and Memphis is the busiest stretch of 4-lane interstate in the country and has been for at least a decade. It carries all of the truck traffic that eventually splits onto I-30 headed for DFW and the rest of Texas and that of I-40 headed further West to OKC, the Rockies, and eventually the West Coast. Trucks just beat down that road and to tell you the truth the semis make it really tough to drive that stretch.

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Like I always point out to people, NWA economy was doing just fine even before any 4-lane highway made it in (which was mid-late 90's I think with 412, then later with 540). The exception where getting 4-lane roads are important I can see is as part of a incentive package deal to land a major industry, like a steel mill or auto manufacturer.

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But you could also make the argument that the NWA economy really started to go through the roof at about the same time as the completion of the road improvements (I-540 and Hwy. 412). Of course, it was also at about that same time that XNA opened and suppliers started moving en masse to NWA, but the new roads certainly haven't hurt in bringing more people, money and development into the area.

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They've all been recently repaved, haven't they?

The I-40 segment between Little Rock and Memphis is the busiest stretch of 4-lane interstate in the country and has been for at least a decade. It carries all of the truck traffic that eventually splits onto I-30 headed for DFW and the rest of Texas and that of I-40 headed further West to OKC, the Rockies, and eventually the West Coast. Trucks just beat down that road and to tell you the truth the semis make it really tough to drive that stretch.

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But you could also make the argument that the NWA economy really started to go through the roof at about the same time as the completion of the road improvements (I-540 and Hwy. 412). Of course, it was also at about that same time that XNA opened and suppliers started moving en masse to NWA, but the new roads certainly haven't hurt in bringing more people, money and development into the area.

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I've got a why question. Why were there so many trucking companies located in NWA when there weren't any 4 lane roads and nothing but hilly winding roads in NWA? Just seems like an odd place for a lot of trucking companies to pop up. :lol:

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I can tell you that the interstates in West Memphis (I-55/I-40) are in absolutely horrible shape. The DOT always seems to be working on them but doesn't seem to ever make any kind of progress.

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