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bchris02

NW Arkansas vs. Ft. Smith vs. larger cities

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Hey,

I currently live in the Fort Smith area, and anybody who has read my opinion over in the Fort Smith thread knows that I absolutely hate it here. I am getting ready to graduate UAFS this December and want to relocate. My first thought was to go to a larger city like Dallas/Ft. Worth, but most people I know recommend I look into the NW Arkansas region. I am a bit worried because of its close proximity to Ft. Smith, which in my opinion is the CAPITAL of everything negative that Arkansas is stereotyped for. I need somewhere a little more progressive. People tell me the atmosphere in NW Arkansas is completely different from the river valley. Can somebody more familiar with the NW Arkansas region compare and contrast living there with living in larger cities, and with living in Ft. Smith?

Thanks

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Hey,

I currently live in the Fort Smith area, and anybody who has read my opinion over in the Fort Smith thread knows that I absolutely hate it here. I am getting ready to graduate UAFS this December and want to relocate. My first thought was to go to a larger city like Dallas/Ft. Worth, but most people I know recommend I look into the NW Arkansas region. I am a bit worried because of its close proximity to Ft. Smith, which in my opinion is the CAPITAL of everything negative that Arkansas is stereotyped for. I need somewhere a little more progressive. People tell me the atmosphere in NW Arkansas is completely different from the river valley. Can somebody more familiar with the NW Arkansas region compare and contrast living there with living in larger cities, and with living in Ft. Smith?

Thanks

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Hey,

I currently live in the Fort Smith area, and anybody who has read my opinion over in the Fort Smith thread knows that I absolutely hate it here. I am getting ready to graduate UAFS this December and want to relocate. My first thought was to go to a larger city like Dallas/Ft. Worth, but most people I know recommend I look into the NW Arkansas region. I am a bit worried because of its close proximity to Ft. Smith, which in my opinion is the CAPITAL of everything negative that Arkansas is stereotyped for. I need somewhere a little more progressive. People tell me the atmosphere in NW Arkansas is completely different from the river valley. Can somebody more familiar with the NW Arkansas region compare and contrast living there with living in larger cities, and with living in Ft. Smith?

Thanks

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Yeah like some of the others have said, things do vary in NWA. Fayetteville is certainly the progressive part of the metro. NWA has been typically Republican stronghold in the state and then you have a liberal Fayetteville in it's midst. That being because of the university. There's a lot going on around Rogers/Bentonville due to Wal-mart of course. Springdale has probably been the fastest growing of the bigger cities. It's had some of the cheapest housing in the area. But rapid growth and little restrictions has made it a little bit of a mess. When I moved here Bella Vista was was one of the nicer places to live. It was basically a retirement community. But with real estate booming in other areas of the metro Bella Vista has become another area where housing is a bit cheaper. Now you have a lot of families moving in there so it's not a retirement village anymore and has also incorporated to officially become on of the bigger cities that make up NWA. But as the others said, a lot of it depends on what you're wanting. If you're looking for a big city then you'll probably find Dallas/Ft Worth more to your liking. But if you're looking for something that's not Ft Smith and doesn't have all of the 'big city problems' you should probably take a serious look at NWA. We're doing something right up here because we get highly ranked in a lot of rankings.

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If I were in your shoes I'd go to a big city. Some big western city with a lot of growth and culture.

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If I were in your shoes I'd go to a big city. Some big western city with a lot of growth and culture.

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I grew up in Ft. Smith and have lived in the NWA for the past 7 years. The difference is noticeable. I'm not going to use words like progressive, culture, conservative, etc. because they just don't mean anything. There is simply a younger, more wealthy (if only slightly) population up here, because of the University as well as jobs in sectors that attract business folks; as opposed to factory workers (not that there aren't any). These people have to be entertained, so the night life is more expansive than that of Ft. Smith. Our primary entertainment district is Dickson Street where any given night you can drink, eat, listen to live music, play pool, etc. at any number of establishments within walking distance of each other. You're not going to find this on Garrison. You've got Papas, Oyster Bar, Rooster's and......? I just counted more than 30 of the top of my head in that one little area.

that's just the entertainment aspect. others can tell you about other things

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I grew up in Ft. Smith and have lived in the NWA for the past 7 years. The difference is noticeable. I'm not going to use words like progressive, culture, conservative, etc. because they just don't mean anything. There is simply a younger, more wealthy (if only slightly) population up here, because of the University as well as jobs in sectors that attract business folks; as opposed to factory workers (not that there aren't any). These people have to be entertained, so the night life is more expansive than that of Ft. Smith. Our primary entertainment district is Dickson Street where any given night you can drink, eat, listen to live music, play pool, etc. at any number of establishments within walking distance of each other. You're not going to find this on Garrison. You've got Papas, Oyster Bar, Rooster's and......? I just counted more than 30 of the top of my head in that one little area.

that's just the entertainment aspect. others can tell you about other things

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The biggest thing I can tell you is the quality of the jobs available are incredibly better in NWA than in Fort Smith. I've lived in Fort Smith for 8 years and worked for the same company. There was no room to do anything else for that company or any others in the river valley. I moved to NWA for a job and the career options are 100 fold better at my new company or with the many other companies that are here and the pay is much better. I've konwn a lot of people who have even moved to vendors from my company even though I don't work for Wal-Mart. There is a need for good intelligent workers. Everyone will tell you about the better social scene, quality of life etc.. but the job market here gives you much better future opportunities that you'd only find in much larger metros. You should just drive up the interstate a few times and look around some to find out more and cruise the job listings at company websites or bulletin boards.

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Thanks for all the replies. I have a couple more questions as I still haven't decided whether or not to rule out a move to NWA after graduation.

How would you compare the religious/political atmosphere in NWA to that in Ft. Smith? Ft. Smith is extremely fundamentalist, and is not the most accomidating to those who don't attend church or vote Republican. You probably see just as many if not more Confederate battle flags than you do American flags. The anti-gay sentiment here is VERY strong. I know we are in the Bible belt, but I've never seen a place quite like Ft. Smith when it comes to close mindedness. How does NWA compare?

Also, my field is IT-Networking. I hear nothing but doom and gloom about the IT job market and how there aren't any IT jobs. While this is true in the classic tech markets such as SF Bay, Austin, and the entire Northeast, I have faith there are still some places where IT jobs can be found. How does the market look in NWA?

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There are some big powerful churches in NWA. There's some Bible belt aspects in NWA as well. Benton County is still dry. Washington County is wet but no alcohol in groceries like Ft Smith has. Once again Fayetteville is the most progressive and more open overall. But I imagine there are areas in Benton County that are different with a number of people moving in from out of state. But as was stated earlier overall NWA is known for being the Republican 'stronghold' of the state. With Fayetteville being the overall exception. But with so much growth there's bound to be some variations and such. I don't know if there's many IT jobs compared to other larger metros, but there are some positions up here, with so many big companies up here.

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I think the reasoning behind no alcohol in grocery stores is to help limit access to college students and not a modern day Temperance movement. Of course it has about as much success as the 1920's anti-alcohol crusade.

bchris02- NWA and Fayetteville in particular are much more open-minded. The university and influx of people from other areas has helped give NWA a more progressive and cosmopolitan atmosphere. It's amazing how many people are still fighting the Civil War 142 years after it ended.

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I'd imagine your best IT chance here is Wal-mart or its vendors. There have been many jobs created by them, mainly in the system administration area with hardware vendors for Wal-mart and in-house support for Wal-mart. I'd say network administration may be a need too, but Wal-mart would cover about all of the IT job gammut within themselves anyways.

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I think the reasoning behind no alcohol in grocery stores is to help limit access to college students and not a modern day Temperance movement. Of course it has about as much success as the 1920's anti-alcohol crusade.

bchris02- NWA and Fayetteville in particular are much more open-minded. The university and influx of people from other areas has helped give NWA a more progressive and cosmopolitan atmosphere. It's amazing how many people are still fighting the Civil War 142 years after it ended.

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Ironically I think it has more to do with Springdale. There's a family that's in control of a number of liquor stores in Washington County, especially Springdale. Each member is supposedly 'owned' by a separate family member. That and there are other people in Springdale who don't want it going to grocery stores. People in positions of power, people who go to First Baptist and happen to work in a certain local grocery chain in the area. :whistling:

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Thanks for all the replies. I have a couple more questions as I still haven't decided whether or not to rule out a move to NWA after graduation.

How would you compare the religious/political atmosphere in NWA to that in Ft. Smith? Ft. Smith is extremely fundamentalist, and is not the most accomidating to those who don't attend church or vote Republican. You probably see just as many if not more Confederate battle flags than you do American flags. The anti-gay sentiment here is VERY strong. I know we are in the Bible belt, but I've never seen a place quite like Ft. Smith when it comes to close mindedness. How does NWA compare?

Also, my field is IT-Networking. I hear nothing but doom and gloom about the IT job market and how there aren't any IT jobs. While this is true in the classic tech markets such as SF Bay, Austin, and the entire Northeast, I have faith there are still some places where IT jobs can be found. How does the market look in NWA?

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Progressive: making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community

Examples would be Fayetteville's Human Dignity Resolution, the smoking ban and it's very successful recycling initiatives. The 2025 plan with it's emphasis on New Urbanism will have a great impact on Fayetteville's future if it is followed. Being a progressive community isn't just an abstract idea- it is a reality in how people live their daily lives.

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Progressive: making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community

Examples would be Fayetteville's Human Dignity Resolution, the smoking ban and it's very successful recycling initiatives. The 2025 plan with it's emphasis on New Urbanism will have a great impact on Fayetteville's future if it is followed. Being a progressive community isn't just an abstract idea- it is a reality in how people live their daily lives.

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Ironically I think it has more to do with Springdale. There's a family that's in control of a number of liquor stores in Washington County, especially Springdale. Each member is supposedly 'owned' by a separate family member. That and there are other people in Springdale who don't want it going to grocery stores. People in positions of power, people who go to First Baptist and happen to work in a certain local grocery chain in the area. :whistling:

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that excellent attitude by Springdale's cabal of liquor store ownership is why the city kissed the Sam's Club goodbye when it wanted to build a new store at 412/56th. Good one. While they'll still get a share of the county taxes, keeping that liquor store interest happy will cost them a ton of city tax revenue in the long run.

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that excellent attitude by Springdale's cabal of liquor store ownership is why the city kissed the Sam's Club goodbye when it wanted to build a new store at 412/56th. Good one. While they'll still get a share of the county taxes, keeping that liquor store interest happy will cost them a ton of city tax revenue in the long run.

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Seriously. A lot of what Arkansans are stereotyped for is present in huge numbers in Dallas too... I would say Kansas City, St Louis, or Chicago are the nearest metro areas that are really different from us. Don't misunderstand, DFW is definitely different but I don't know how much of a big city feel it has really (yea, I know how big it is and it certainly qualifies as a major urban area, but it doesn't have the "city" feel that even Kansas City has, and KC is much smaller).

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