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bigboyz05

Question of LR's Growth

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Do you see LR's suburban growth growing past Benton toward the town of Malvern or north up the 67 Freeway toward Searcy?

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I'm by no means an expert, but I personally see more growth to the west on Hwy 10. towards Perryville and north on I-40 in Conway.

I think there's plenty of growing left to do in Benton/Bryant before any significant developments occur much further south of Benton. I suppose exit 111 just beyond Benton towards Hot Springs could be a good location for future growth though.

The only real growth I see on 67 is Cabot. I don't know what the statistics are, but I think a lot of folks are skipping over Jacksonville and Beebe.

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Do you see LR's suburban growth growing past Benton toward the town of Malvern or north up the 67 Freeway toward Searcy?

There are clearly three main corridors of development extending from the core right now - I-40 to Conway, I-30 to Benton, and US 67/167 to Cabot.

Regarding I-40/Conway, there is a gap on the near side of Conway and in Mayflower that is undeveloped that could be developed. There is a lack of exits between Mayflower and Lake Conway slowing this and Camp Robinson uses a lot of land which leaves a gap. I expect moderately priced homes in Mayflower and south Conway to eventually fill most of this gap.

Regarding I-30, it's already fully developed to Benton and there's a gap down to Malvern. Right now the main growth is in Bryant and the adjacent part of Benton. Eventually South Benton will start to grow as well (especially since I-30 was widened to 6 lanes to Benton) but Malvern is not a commuter town for LR. Sure growth will happen out that way but it will probably take decades. As a matter of fact, I see Hot Springs and Benton growing closer first.

Regarding 67/167 Beebe and Searcy are well-connected to Central AR already and Cabot's growth is explosive right now. I think that corridor will be fairly developed all the way to Searcy sooner than most people think. The widening of that freeway will be completed out to NE Cabot which will help improve traffic into town, as has/is the 440 extension/North Belt.

Off of the main roads, I expect a lot of growth in the Vilonia area between Cabot and Conway as well as West Pulaski/Perry Co. That West Pulaski/Eastern Perry Co development, though, will be an extension of West LR proper. You would also expect some growth in Sheridan/East End.

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There are clearly three main corridors of development extending from the core right now - I-40 to Conway, I-30 to Benton, and US 67/167 to Cabot.

Regarding I-40/Conway, there is a gap on the near side of Conway and in Mayflower that is undeveloped that could be developed. There is a lack of exits between Mayflower and Lake Conway slowing this and Camp Robinson uses a lot of land which leaves a gap. I expect moderately priced homes in Mayflower and south Conway to eventually fill most of this gap.

Regarding I-30, it's already fully developed to Benton and there's a gap down to Malvern. Right now the main growth is in Bryant and the adjacent part of Benton. Eventually South Benton will start to grow as well (especially since I-30 was widened to 6 lanes to Benton) but Malvern is not a commuter town for LR. Sure growth will happen out that way but it will probably take decades. As a matter of fact, I see Hot Springs and Benton growing closer first.

Regarding 67/167 Beebe and Searcy are well-connected to Central AR already and Cabot's growth is explosive right now. I think that corridor will be fairly developed all the way to Searcy sooner than most people think. The widening of that freeway will be completed out to NE Cabot which will help improve traffic into town, as has/is the 440 extension/North Belt.

Off of the main roads, I expect a lot of growth in the Vilonia area between Cabot and Conway as well as West Pulaski/Perry Co. That West Pulaski/Eastern Perry Co development, though, will be an extension of West LR proper. You would also expect some growth in Sheridan/East End.

It depends where employment goes. Malvern and Searcy are very far from the core employment areas in LR.

But there's one assumption you are giving regarding Searcy-- that Hwy 67 will be widen. I can tell you right now, that is a long, long way off. 99.99% unlikely to happen anytime soon (North Belt will happen before then, and that itself is a ways off).

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It depends where employment goes. Malvern and Searcy are very far from the core employment areas in LR.

But there's one assumption you are giving regarding Searcy-- that Hwy 67 will be widen. I can tell you right now, that is a long, long way off. 99.99% unlikely to happen anytime soon (North Belt will happen before then, and that itself is a ways off).

I never said it would be widened to Searcy, it won't. But as I said it will be widened to Cabot, which is the area that traffic becomes a problem.

I understand about employers but this also used to be the argument with Conway. Why would people live in Conway and work in LR instead of Maumelle, etc? I'm not getting into that debate but Conway's booming despite a lengthy and painful commute. The main reason I see the whole 67/167 corridor blossoming is that it's probably just as fast to get from Searcy or Beebe to downtown LR as it is from Conway where I-40 traffic is a nightmare. The other reason is that people tend to go to preexisting communities with some amenities. Beebe and especially Searcy are already strong preexisting communities with universities, hospitals and a fair number of commuters to LR already. Few realize White County already has 75,000 residents, most of them along 67 and 21k in Searcy. As Cabot prices continue to rise they will become alternatives for those desperate for cheap homes that want to avoid Pulaski Co schools. It also isn't a ridiculously long way to the shopping and restaurants of NLR.

Searcy also is the major benefactor of jobs from the Fayetteville Shale thus far and if that pans out even more it could push that boom. One natural gas company is building a HQs there and hiring 500 employees.

In 5-10 years I think we'll see Searcy grow in similar fashion to the way Conway did in the 1990s.

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I never said it would be widened to Searcy, it won't. But as I said it will be widened to Cabot, which is the area that traffic becomes a problem.

I understand about employers but this also used to be the argument with Conway. Why would people live in Conway and work in LR instead of Maumelle, etc? I'm not getting into that debate but Conway's booming despite a lengthy and painful commute. The main reason I see the whole 67/167 corridor blossoming is that it's probably just as fast to get from Searcy or Beebe to downtown LR as it is from Conway where I-40 traffic is a nightmare. The other reason is that people tend to go to preexisting communities with some amenities. Beebe and especially Searcy are already strong preexisting communities with universities, hospitals and a fair number of commuters to LR already. Few realize White County already has 75,000 residents, most of them along 67 and 21k in Searcy. As Cabot prices continue to rise they will become alternatives for those desperate for cheap homes that want to avoid Pulaski Co schools. It also isn't a ridiculously long way to the shopping and restaurants of NLR.

Searcy also is the major benefactor of jobs from the Fayetteville Shale thus far and if that pans out even more it could push that boom. One natural gas company is building a HQs there and hiring 500 employees.

In 5-10 years I think we'll see Searcy grow in similar fashion to the way Conway did in the 1990s.

Beebe will never amount to much, the only thing they have going for it is ASU-Beebe. In its zip code more people live outside of the town than in. Most of the growth in the area is outside the city limits. When annexacton is voted on the people outside the city vote against it. One of there main problems is their water. Even the city water department says it is no good. About the only way Beebe can grow is to the West due to land considerations. The city is stuck in the past. During the last annexaction two points promoted by Beebe for reasons to be part of the city were: 1. a person can shoot a gun in their front yard, 2. There are no restrictions to how high a citizen can let their yard grow. They spend as much money on their parks department as their fire department. The only paid fireman is a part time chief. The major restaurants in Beebe are KFC, Mazzio's, Pizza Hut, Waffle House and two gas station/restaurant combos. In Beebe the majority of new construction is for houses under 100k while ouitside the city limits the prices go from 150k up. A lot of these houses being built outside the city limits are being built off of paved over gravel roads hardily wide enough for two cars to pass. If these areas are ever annexed I do not see how the city will ever have the money to improve these roads. The two largest empolyers are the Beebe School District and ASU-Beebe, nothing else comes close.

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I noticed that Aporkalypse mentioned the East End/Sheridan area, and I don't think this area gets enough attention. I live in East End, and there is a LOT of undeveloped timberland out here right now, and there is a constant steady number of new houses going up. I've seen several large chunks of trees cleared out along the US-167 corridor near to I-530, which I'm guessing will turn in to subdivisions in the next few years.

The east end area especially is a very easy commute to downtown Little Rock. I can go from my driveway to downtown Little Rock in 15 minutes most days, and 20 minutes on a bad day. I'm closer to downtown than much of the recent development in far west little rock.

AHTD is currently widening 167 from Sheridan to I-530. The entire route is supposed to be widened to 4-lanes with a continuous center turn lane by the end of 2008 I believe. Once this widening is complete, it will shorten the commute from the sheridan area, and make development out there more attractive. I expect to see development accelerate once the 167 widening is complete.

The best thing this area has going for it imo is that a lot of the undeveloped land is all owned by a single owner (International Paper I believe) similar to the situation in West Little Rock with Deltic. I would imagine that this would simplify development. I don't know that IP is interested in doing the development themselves but it seems it would make land acquisition easier for prospective developers.

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I noticed that Aporkalypse mentioned the East End/Sheridan area, and I don't think this area gets enough attention. I live in East End, and there is a LOT of undeveloped timberland out here right now, and there is a constant steady number of new houses going up. I've seen several large chunks of trees cleared out along the US-167 corridor near to I-530, which I'm guessing will turn in to subdivisions in the next few years.

The east end area especially is a very easy commute to downtown Little Rock. I can go from my driveway to downtown Little Rock in 15 minutes most days, and 20 minutes on a bad day. I'm closer to downtown than much of the recent development in far west little rock.

AHTD is currently widening 167 from Sheridan to I-530. The entire route is supposed to be widened to 4-lanes with a continuous center turn lane by the end of 2008 I believe. Once this widening is complete, it will shorten the commute from the sheridan area, and make development out there more attractive. I expect to see development accelerate once the 167 widening is complete.

The best thing this area has going for it imo is that a lot of the undeveloped land is all owned by a single owner (International Paper I believe) similar to the situation in West Little Rock with Deltic. I would imagine that this would simplify development. I don't know that IP is interested in doing the development themselves but it seems it would make land acquisition easier for prospective developers.

I forgot that that 167 is being widened from Sheridan to I-530, I had just read that the other day. East End and Sheridan aren't inconvenient to downtown LR or Pine Bluff. They are certainly much closer and less traffic-stricken than the booming suburbs like Cabot and Conway. The lack of retail and shopping options is what's limiting growth, IMO. I would like to see more industrial development between SE LR and Pine Bluff and that would create jobs in the area.

I also forgot about the eastern area of NLR near Scott. A lot of new housing will go up out that way and it's fairly convenient to the McCain area, downtown, and NLR hospitals and schools.

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I read somewhere once that Metro LR is 630,000. That was some time back. Has that number increased?

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I read somewhere once that Metro LR is 630,000. That was some time back. Has that number increased?

That's pretty much on target for 2000. I believe that the 2004 estimate was like 644,000 or so, and is expected to exceed 700,000 by the 2010 census.

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I never said it would be widened to Searcy, it won't. But as I said it will be widened to Cabot, which is the area that traffic becomes a problem.

I understand about employers but this also used to be the argument with Conway. Why would people live in Conway and work in LR instead of Maumelle, etc? I'm not getting into that debate but Conway's booming despite a lengthy and painful commute. The main reason I see the whole 67/167 corridor blossoming is that it's probably just as fast to get from Searcy or Beebe to downtown LR as it is from Conway where I-40 traffic is a nightmare. The other reason is that people tend to go to preexisting communities with some amenities. Beebe and especially Searcy are already strong preexisting communities with universities, hospitals and a fair number of commuters to LR already. Few realize White County already has 75,000 residents, most of them along 67 and 21k in Searcy. As Cabot prices continue to rise they will become alternatives for those desperate for cheap homes that want to avoid Pulaski Co schools. It also isn't a ridiculously long way to the shopping and restaurants of NLR.

Searcy also is the major benefactor of jobs from the Fayetteville Shale thus far and if that pans out even more it could push that boom. One natural gas company is building a HQs there and hiring 500 employees.

In 5-10 years I think we'll see Searcy grow in similar fashion to the way Conway did in the 1990s.

That's what I'm saying-- it won't be widened to Cabot in a very long time. The reasons are (1) there are other big-ticket priorties, (2) Hwy 67 corridor in NLR- Jacksonville is already getting a lot of work, (3) widening through Jacksonville will be very expensive, and (4) there's just no money to do it in the near future.

Conway is only about 25 miles from downtown LR; Searcy is about 50 miles. Hot Springs is about 50 miles from LR. (Though I have heard, but not met, about some people who do commute from Hot Springs). 50 miles is too far for typical commuters in a small metro like LR. Perhaps employment areas will develop out there in time. But at least places like Conway and Saline County are somewhat close to WLR, where there's a lot of employment.

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That's what I'm saying-- it won't be widened to Cabot in a very long time. The reasons are (1) there are other big-ticket priorties, (2) Hwy 67 corridor in NLR- Jacksonville is already getting a lot of work, (3) widening through Jacksonville will be very expensive, and (4) there's just no money to do it in the near future.

Conway is only about 25 miles from downtown LR; Searcy is about 50 miles. Hot Springs is about 50 miles from LR. (Though I have heard, but not met, about some people who do commute from Hot Springs). 50 miles is too far for typical commuters in a small metro like LR. Perhaps employment areas will develop out there in time. But at least places like Conway and Saline County are somewhat close to WLR, where there's a lot of employment.

I did the Hot Springs - Little Rock Commute when I got my job in WLR 2 years ago. That lasted about a month. It got old very quickly.

I have also done the Conway - WLR commute and it was not bad. It seems far to us here, but in places like Boston, Chigao, NYC a drive to a home 25 miles out of the "city" is not that far. The bad part about the Conway commute is that it seems to get busier every day. It's way heavier now then 2 years ago when I moved there from Hot Springs.

I now live in WLR 5 miles from my office. It's nice to just drive down Cantrell to Work/Home. :)

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That's what I'm saying-- it won't be widened to Cabot in a very long time. The reasons are (1) there are other big-ticket priorties, (2) Hwy 67 corridor in NLR- Jacksonville is already getting a lot of work, (3) widening through Jacksonville will be very expensive, and (4) there's just no money to do it in the near future.

Conway is only about 25 miles from downtown LR; Searcy is about 50 miles. Hot Springs is about 50 miles from LR. (Though I have heard, but not met, about some people who do commute from Hot Springs). 50 miles is too far for typical commuters in a small metro like LR. Perhaps employment areas will develop out there in time. But at least places like Conway and Saline County are somewhat close to WLR, where there's a lot of employment.

The traffic from LR to Conway is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. There's almost a 10 mile distance between the trip from Conway to West LR, which is around 25 miles, and the one to downtown LR. More importantly, though, traffic is a nightmare because it's two lanes until you're near downtown or you get on I-430. You will either have to get through I-630 and 430/630 interchange traffic or I-30 crossing the river. Either way is pretty miserable. Sometimes you can make that drive in 45 min but sometimes if there's a wreck or construction it takes twice that.

Searcy is closer to Cabot, Sherwood, and NLR and might be a pretty reasonable choice for someone working at a company like Delta Dental or ABC Financial in Sherwood.

I may be a little slanted because of my profession. Because they generally work only 3-4 12 hour shifts a week that don't coincide with traffic nurses and a lot of other hospital employees live more remotely. A lot of the ones I know at Baptist, UAMS, and the VA actually lived in Conway, Cabot, and Benton as well as Searcy. It was less of an issue for them than for your typical 8 to 5 employees. I also knew a few MDs that live in LR and commute to Searcy. Still, in Arkansas a lot people that move to metro areas for jobs are willing to live far in exurbia to avoid the crime, traffic, and other problems they perceive in the city. There are people in Russellville, Morrilton, Searcy, and Malvern that commute to LR every day, I know some. It's insane to me but it happens.

I will say this, in 1990 hardly anyone considered Conway a Little Rock suburb and I thought it was too far away to grow into LR. It had a little over 20,000 residents then. It now is around 55,000 and most of the growth came from commuters, not new jobs. Just looking at the big picture, I think Searcy will be the same eventually. Not in the next 5 years, but eventually.

Hot Springs isn't a good suburb because there aren't many jobs in Saline Co (aside from Saline Memorial) and because half of your route is not along interstate-quality roads. In addition, while there are a few nice housing developments in areas near the Saline Co border, the population has largely grown the opposite direction around Lake Hamilton which adds 15 min to the trip, even with the new bypass.

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I did the Hot Springs - Little Rock Commute when I got my job in WLR 2 years ago. That lasted about a month. It got old very quickly.

I have also done the Conway - WLR commute and it was not bad. It seems far to us here, but in places like Boston, Chigao, NYC a drive to a home 25 miles out of the "city" is not that far. The bad part about the Conway commute is that it seems to get busier every day. It's way heavier now then 2 years ago when I moved there from Hot Springs.

I now live in WLR 5 miles from my office. It's nice to just drive down Cantrell to Work/Home. :)

My wife was a nurse at Baptist and did the same Conway to WLR commute and it killed her. Sometimes she could make it in 30 min but sometimes it took over an hour or more, especially when the construction was heavy. I was spoiled. I can't imagine not living in the city of LR where you can get essentially anywhere in town in 15 min.

I know what you mean about it getting worse. It wasn't that bad when I graduated from Hendrix in '97. Over the last decade I bet average commute times have gone up by 10 min because of traffic.

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The traffic from LR to Conway is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. There's almost a 10 mile distance between the trip from Conway to West LR, which is around 25 miles, and the one to downtown LR. More importantly, though, traffic is a nightmare because it's two lanes until you're near downtown or you get on I-430. You will either have to get through I-630 and 430/630 interchange traffic or I-30 crossing the river. Either way is pretty miserable. Sometimes you can make that drive in 45 min but sometimes if there's a wreck or construction it takes twice that.

Searcy is closer to Cabot, Sherwood, and NLR and might be a pretty reasonable choice for someone working at a company like Delta Dental or ABC Financial in Sherwood.

I may be a little slanted because of my profession. Because they generally work only 3-4 12 hour shifts a week that don't coincide with traffic nurses and a lot of other hospital employees live more remotely. A lot of the ones I know at Baptist, UAMS, and the VA actually lived in Conway, Cabot, and Benton as well as Searcy. It was less of an issue for them than for your typical 8 to 5 employees. I also knew a few MDs that live in LR and commute to Searcy. Still, in Arkansas a lot people that move to metro areas for jobs are willing to live far in exurbia to avoid the crime, traffic, and other problems they perceive in the city. There are people in Russellville, Morrilton, Searcy, and Malvern that commute to LR every day, I know some. It's insane to me but it happens.

I will say this, in 1990 hardly anyone considered Conway a Little Rock suburb and I thought it was too far away to grow into LR. It had a little over 20,000 residents then. It now is around 55,000 and most of the growth came from commuters, not new jobs. Just looking at the big picture, I think Searcy will be the same eventually. Not in the next 5 years, but eventually.

Hot Springs isn't a good suburb because there aren't many jobs in Saline Co (aside from Saline Memorial) and because half of your route is not along interstate-quality roads. In addition, while there are a few nice housing developments in areas near the Saline Co border, the population has largely grown the opposite direction around Lake Hamilton which adds 15 min to the trip, even with the new bypass.

I lived in Little Rock briefly in 1992 when I was in the 8th grade. 630 was bad then I can't imagine it now.

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I lived in Little Rock briefly in 1992 when I was in the 8th grade. 630 was bad then I can't imagine it now.

630 is busy but it's fairly short. The real problem is the interchanges with I-430 and I-30. It sounds like there's a plan for the I-430 interchance, I haven't heard one for the I-30 interchange yet.

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Why would people live in Conway and work in LR instead of Maumelle, etc?

I'll take "school districts" for a thousand, Alex.

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I'll take "school districts" for a thousand, Alex.

I'm a private school guy but I would send my kids to LR public schools ending with Central over any of the outlying school districts. That's just based on my experiences and people I know.

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2006 census estimates now put LR/NLR at 653,000 and it has grown at 6.7% since 2000. Growth is less than that for NWA and puts it out of the fastest growing metro areas by a decent margin but actually it's doing well regionally compared to cities likeMemphis (5.8%) and Tulsa (4.4%).

More interesting to me is the pattern of numbers added per year:

2000-2001 5394

2001-2002 6040

2002-2003 6727

2003-2004 7612

2005-2006 10,204

Is growth in the LR/NLR metro now accelerating? Is this from immigration or moving into the metro from in/out of state?

The last year's numbers are significant enough to put LR's growth at a very healthy clip if it continues. Plus, this doesn't accoutn for exurban growth in surrounding Central Ark counties which has also been brisk.

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2006 census estimates now put LR/NLR at 653,000 and it has grown at 6.7% since 2000. Growth is less than that for NWA and puts it out of the fastest growing metro areas by a decent margin but actually it's doing well regionally compared to cities likeMemphis (5.8%) and Tulsa (4.4%).

More interesting to me is the pattern of numbers added per year:

2000-2001 5394

2001-2002 6040

2002-2003 6727

2003-2004 7612

2005-2006 10,204

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2006 census estimates now put LR/NLR at 653,000 and it has grown at 6.7% since 2000. Growth is less than that for NWA and puts it out of the fastest growing metro areas by a decent margin but actually it's doing well regionally compared to cities likeMemphis (5.8%) and Tulsa (4.4%).

More interesting to me is the pattern of numbers added per year:

2000-2001 5394

2001-2002 6040

2002-2003 6727

2003-2004 7612

2005-2006 10,204

Is growth in the LR/NLR metro now accelerating? Is this from immigration or moving into the metro from in/out of state?

The last year's numbers are significant enough to put LR's growth at a very healthy clip if it continues. Plus, this doesn't accoutn for exurban growth in surrounding Central Ark counties which has also been brisk.

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2006 census estimates now put LR/NLR at 653,000 and it has grown at 6.7% since 2000. Growth is less than that for NWA and puts it out of the fastest growing metro areas by a decent margin but actually it's doing well regionally compared to cities likeMemphis (5.8%) and Tulsa (4.4%).

More interesting to me is the pattern of numbers added per year:

2000-2001 5394

2001-2002 6040

2002-2003 6727

2003-2004 7612

2005-2006 10,204

Is growth in the LR/NLR metro now accelerating? Is this from immigration or moving into the metro from in/out of state?

The last year's numbers are significant enough to put LR's growth at a very healthy clip if it continues. Plus, this doesn't accoutn for exurban growth in surrounding Central Ark counties which has also been brisk.

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Interesting, isnt the 10,204 increase in 05-06 almost on pace with NWA. I may be wrong but I think it adds about 11k per year?

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