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Mith242

Walton Arts Center Location

Where do you think the WAC should be located?  

43 members have voted

  1. 1. Where do you think the WAC should be located?

    • Same location, just expand as much as possible.
      31
    • Different location, but still on/near Dickson St
      8
    • Another location somewhere in Fayetteville
      1
    • Somewhere else in NWA outside of Fayetteville
      3


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Well here's what the WAC Board announced today on the criteria for the new site. They want a minimum of 3 acres of land but would prefer 6-10 acres. They want a minimum of 1100 parking spaces but would prefer up to 1450 spaces. They also want easy access off of I-540. Even if Fayetteville were able to keep the new WAC sounds to me it's going to have to go to west Fayetteville. Sounds like anywhere near downtown or Dickson St is pretty much ruled out. While I certainly hope Fayetteville is able to host the site. I'm still pretty disappointed that they feel they have to have something basically near I-540. I know that's not what they technically said but it's pretty much what we're going to end up getting. Mayor Jordan sounds like he already has something lined up to offer. But I still can't help but feel that the most likely location for the new WAC facility will end up in Benton County.

Have you considered the old Washington County Sale Barn site just off 6th Street? I know the site is far from perfect, but it's nine acres, good access to I-540 (via 6th Street and South 71 Bus.), the current infrastructure is there, and about the largest site I can think of that's anywhere close to downtown. And having a new arts center in that neighborhood would go a long way in helping to rejuvenate the Mill District / South Fayetteville area, which is one of the city's long-term goals. Personally I think it's one of the few developments that would be a good fit for building next door to the National Cemetery. If only the veterans would get on board... (?) What are your thoughts?

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Have you considered the old Washington County Sale Barn site just off 6th Street? I know the site is far from perfect, but it's nine acres, good access to I-540 (via 6th Street and South 71 Bus.), the current infrastructure is there, and about the largest site I can think of that's anywhere close to downtown. And having a new arts center in that neighborhood would go a long way in helping to rejuvenate the Mill District / South Fayetteville area, which is one of the city's long-term goals. Personally I think it's one of the few developments that would be a good fit for building next door to the National Cemetery. If only the veterans would get on board... (?) What are your thoughts?

First I'll say welcome to the forum. In my opinion that would be the top option for Fayetteville. I wouldn't have thought there was 9 acres there. But as you mentioned still good access to I-540 and close to downtown and it would be a nice boost to the Mill District. I also wonder if the veterans would support the move. It would also be nice for the owners to finally be able to sell the property after that big mess with the veterans and the Councilman stepping out so that Mayor Jordan didn't have to cast a tie breaking vote. I certainly prefer that scenario over building the WAC in west Fayetteville. I don't have anything against west Fayetteville. But I think that it would any support more sprawl. There is that land on the southeast corner of Weddington and I-540. Where they partially got it ready for development then for some reason nothing ever happened, years before the economy went down. It's right off I-540 and it is at least east of I-540. But that area is mainly a residential neighborhood. As a biased Fayetteville resident I'd rather see it go there than some location in Benton County. I guess I'm just wondering if the city of Fayetteville can get it's act together and succeed in getting the WAC over to the sales barn site. The WAC Board members keep saying it's open to any city site. But I can't help but feel they're wanting an excuse to build the new facility up in Benton County.

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First I'll say welcome to the forum. In my opinion that would be the top option for Fayetteville. I wouldn't have thought there was 9 acres there. But as you mentioned still good access to I-540 and close to downtown and it would be a nice boost to the Mill District. I also wonder if the veterans would support the move. It would also be nice for the owners to finally be able to sell the property after that big mess with the veterans and the Councilman stepping out so that Mayor Jordan didn't have to cast a tie breaking vote. I certainly prefer that scenario over building the WAC in west Fayetteville. I don't have anything against west Fayetteville. But I think that it would any support more sprawl. There is that land on the southeast corner of Weddington and I-540. Where they partially got it ready for development then for some reason nothing ever happened, years before the economy went down. It's right off I-540 and it is at least east of I-540. But that area is mainly a residential neighborhood. As a biased Fayetteville resident I'd rather see it go there than some location in Benton County. I guess I'm just wondering if the city of Fayetteville can get it's act together and succeed in getting the WAC over to the sales barn site. The WAC Board members keep saying it's open to any city site. But I can't help but feel they're wanting an excuse to build the new facility up in Benton County.

Thanks for the welcome -- great to be here! Like you, I would LOVE to see the WAC addition stay in Fayetteville, but candidly I think it's going to come down to what the big donors want. If the Waltons want to donate tens of millions of dollars to make this happen, and they want it built in Bentonville on or around the Crystal Bridges site, then that's where it's going to be. Fayetteville just doesn't have the financial resources to fight that scenario.

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Speaking of Performing Arts Centers, is there a thread on the NWA forum dedicated to the new outdoor performing arts center they're building in Tontitown? I think it's called Osage Creek Performing Arts Center?

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Thanks for the welcome -- great to be here! Like you, I would LOVE to see the WAC addition stay in Fayetteville, but candidly I think it's going to come down to what the big donors want. If the Waltons want to donate tens of millions of dollars to make this happen, and they want it built in Bentonville on or around the Crystal Bridges site, then that's where it's going to be. Fayetteville just doesn't have the financial resources to fight that scenario.

I have to agree with you. Despite all the claims of no decision being made yet on where the new WAC facility will be built. You still have to wonder if they're really just trying to set it up so that they have an 'excuse/reason' to build it up in Benton County. I mean looking at it from their point of view I can see why they'd really like to build it up there. But as a Fayetteville resident I admit I'd feel it as a bit of a slap in the face if they pick somewhere else over Fayetteville. Especially if Fayetteville comes back with a great site and backing. I think Fayetteville and the U of A have done a lot in supporting the current facility. I know the WAC Board keeps trying to emphasize they aren't leaving Fayetteville. But we all know if the new facility is built all Fayetteville will get is the 'leftovers' the best acts and performances will go to the new location. I think Fayetteville will have a time having to compete with the idea of having the new WAC facility near Crystal Bridges. But as I said earlier. I really do like the idea of having it at the Mill District. When a new facility was first mentioned someone mentioned how nice it would be to have near the Mill District so that it would help spark that area.

Speaking of Performing Arts Centers, is there a thread on the NWA forum dedicated to the new outdoor performing arts center they're building in Tontitown? I think it's called Osage Creek Performing Arts Center?

I haven't heard anything about it. Feel free to start a new topic on it.

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I was actually gettingon here to mention the Sale Barn site. Glad someone else thought of it! Thereis room at the current location with proper renovation/street removal. Thecity/WAC might have to purchase a few homes to clear a block but it is still anoptimal location considering the room. And with parking, even if the WAC endsup with a dedicated lot/parking deck there will still be enough for the rest ofthe area (you are welcome to disagree but you are wrong, there is enough room).

In all reality, theSale Barn is one of the best locations for these reasons:

  • · Proper Funding ifA&P, UofA, City Council get onboard.
  • · Adequate size forbuildings & expansions. Could also lease extra parking space from neighbor businessesif wanting to cut down on initial construction costs.
  • · Fayetteville has shown initiativeto create a lucrative relationship with the WAC. (original land grant, offer ofparking lot usage, public statements of intent….)
  • · The WAC is already knownas a high class facility, keeping that in Fayetteville would maintain thatidea.
  • · The UofA is a constantsource of support. The UofA actively encourages students to attend events andhas even purchased numerous tickets for students.
  • · Great access by road andFayetteville has the only Mass transit setup, and we have two companies thatoperate here and actual cabs! It is also close to the railroad tracks in theevent that light rail ever happens.
  • · The vibe of Fayetteville is alreadyestablished with the atmosphere of the Square & Dickson St. being close by.
  • · The Mill District has already beenestablishing its identity as an artsy area and already has a few restaurantsnearby with much room for new support businesses.
  • · The area is also safe (when I lived inFayetteville I would jog through the area several nights out of a given month).
  • · Offers great views ofDowntown Fay, the nationally recognized Fayetteville Library, possibly theUofA, the National Cemetary, Mt Sequia, and South & South East Fayetteville.

In conclusion,Fayetteville has many options available for an adequate expansion site. Even ifthe location is not on Dickson St.

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The criteria listed as critical by the WAC Board seem to have been deemed that in order to put the onus on Fayetteville to overcome the Board and lead donor's preference of the Crystal Bridges site. The criteria listed as important and moderate (otherwise known as afterthoughts) are where Fayetteville might have had an advantage. Here's a breakdown of the critical criteria and how they relate to the possible Dickson Street site.

1. Funding for the construction project- the lead donor made their preference known when they included plans for a 3,000 seat theater at the Crystal Bridges site. The idea that any Fayetteville site is less elgible for private funding doesn't make sense.

2.Site size- the plans call for 2 halls on at least 3 acres. If the site across from the present building is used why would they need more than one 2,100 seat hall? There is already a 1,200 seat hall and other facilities built that can be used. This criteria seems aimed at eliminating the Dickson Street location- even if they won't publicy say so.

3. Parking- they say there will be a need for 1,100 to 1,450 spaces for the possible 2,600 people attending events at the 2 new halls. For perspective; the Garland Avenue parking deck being constructed on the U of A campus was estimated in 2007 at $26 million for 1,500 spaces. The lowest per space price I've found for deck spaces is $13,000, which would make the expansion deck in the $14 to $19 million range. They probabably would not want to share those spaces with non-attendees either. A 2005 city study recommended a 280 space to 1,000 seat ratio for a public use concert hall. This indicates a need of approx. 700 spaces for the expansion deck; they seem to have inflated the number of spaces needed to drive home the point that the Dickson Street site isn't being seriously considered. The same study did indicate that a 1,200 space deck is financially feasible for Dickson Street though.

4. Political will to complete project in a timely manner- here's where they really put Fayetteville at a disadvantage. With a weak mayor who seems out of touch and has expressed luke-warm support for the WAC expansion in Fayetteville plus the community's wide diversity of opinion on all matters the Board has aimed this criteria directly at the city. This would be a great chance for the mayor and other city leaders to prove them wrong and come up with a plan that can't be rejected when looked at objectively.

5. Ease of access- another criteria aimed at rejecting the Dickson Street site. It would be possible to overcome this for the limited number of large events that would attract 2,100 attendees. Traffic control where streets were made one way only into the area before an event and vice-versa afterwards could be used. Improved public transporation is always an option but might be too little too late.

6. Ability for WAC to maintain regional performing arts and entertainment leadership- this is the one critcal criteria where Fayetteville can have an advantage by making clear that if the WAC expansion is away from the city that the WAC organization needs to go with it. Fayetteville can not allow the WAC to control what events come to the city after it has abandoned it- and that is what would be happening.

7. On-going support- another problem for Fayetteville at a time when city revenue is down. The HMR tax should be looked as a on-going support method but with competing interests all clamoring for it the chance of it going to the WAC is a small one.

More tomorrow.......

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I was actually gettingon here to mention the Sale Barn site. Glad someone else thought of it! Thereis room at the current location with proper renovation/street removal. Thecity/WAC might have to purchase a few homes to clear a block but it is still anoptimal location considering the room. And with parking, even if the WAC endsup with a dedicated lot/parking deck there will still be enough for the rest ofthe area (you are welcome to disagree but you are wrong, there is enough room).

In all reality, theSale Barn is one of the best locations for these reasons:

  • · Proper Funding ifA&P, UofA, City Council get onboard.
  • · Adequate size forbuildings & expansions. Could also lease extra parking space from neighbor businessesif wanting to cut down on initial construction costs.
  • · Fayetteville has shown initiativeto create a lucrative relationship with the WAC. (original land grant, offer ofparking lot usage, public statements of intent….)
  • · The WAC is already knownas a high class facility, keeping that in Fayetteville would maintain thatidea.
  • · The UofA is a constantsource of support. The UofA actively encourages students to attend events andhas even purchased numerous tickets for students.
  • · Great access by road andFayetteville has the only Mass transit setup, and we have two companies thatoperate here and actual cabs! It is also close to the railroad tracks in theevent that light rail ever happens.
  • · The vibe of Fayetteville is alreadyestablished with the atmosphere of the Square & Dickson St. being close by.
  • · The Mill District has already beenestablishing its identity as an artsy area and already has a few restaurantsnearby with much room for new support businesses.
  • · The area is also safe (when I lived inFayetteville I would jog through the area several nights out of a given month).
  • · Offers great views ofDowntown Fay, the nationally recognized Fayetteville Library, possibly theUofA, the National Cemetary, Mt Sequia, and South & South East Fayetteville.

In conclusion,Fayetteville has many options available for an adequate expansion site. Even ifthe location is not on Dickson St.

There may be room to expand. But I just don't think the WAC Board is going to go for it. I do agree with the Mill District site. I'm pretty excited about the possibilities there. But I think I also have to agree with zman. I think the deck is being stacked against Fayetteville.

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The criteria listed as critical by the WAC Board seem to have been deemed that in order to put the onus on Fayetteville to overcome the Board and lead donor's preference of the Crystal Bridges site. The criteria listed as important and moderate (otherwise known as afterthoughts) are where Fayetteville might have had an advantage. Here's a breakdown of the critical criteria and how they relate to the possible Dickson Street site.

1. Funding for the construction project- the lead donor made their preference known when they included plans for a 3,000 seat theater at the Crystal Bridges site. The idea that any Fayetteville site is less elgible for private funding doesn't make sense.

2.Site size- the plans call for 2 halls on at least 3 acres. If the site across from the present building is used why would they need more than one 2,100 seat hall? There is already a 1,200 seat hall and other facilities built that can be used. This criteria seems aimed at eliminating the Dickson Street location- even if they won't publicy say so.

3. Parking- they say there will be a need for 1,100 to 1,450 spaces for the possible 2,600 people attending events at the 2 new halls. For perspective; the Garland Avenue parking deck being constructed on the U of A campus was estimated in 2007 at $26 million for 1,500 spaces. The lowest per space price I've found for deck spaces is $13,000, which would make the expansion deck in the $14 to $19 million range. They probabably would not want to share those spaces with non-attendees either. A 2005 city study recommended a 280 space to 1,000 seat ratio for a public use concert hall. This indicates a need of approx. 700 spaces for the expansion deck; they seem to have inflated the number of spaces needed to drive home the point that the Dickson Street site isn't being seriously considered. The same study did indicate that a 1,200 space deck is financially feasible for Dickson Street though.

4. Political will to complete project in a timely manner- here's where they really put Fayetteville at a disadvantage. With a weak mayor who seems out of touch and has expressed luke-warm support for the WAC expansion in Fayetteville plus the community's wide diversity of opinion on all matters the Board has aimed this criteria directly at the city. This would be a great chance for the mayor and other city leaders to prove them wrong and come up with a plan that can't be rejected when looked at objectively.

5. Ease of access- another criteria aimed at rejecting the Dickson Street site. It would be possible to overcome this for the limited number of large events that would attract 2,100 attendees. Traffic control where streets were made one way only into the area before an event and vice-versa afterwards could be used. Improved public transporation is always an option but might be too little too late.

6. Ability for WAC to maintain regional performing arts and entertainment leadership- this is the one critcal criteria where Fayetteville can have an advantage by making clear that if the WAC expansion is away from the city that the WAC organization needs to go with it. Fayetteville can not allow the WAC to control what events come to the city after it has abandoned it- and that is what would be happening.

7. On-going support- another problem for Fayetteville at a time when city revenue is down. The HMR tax should be looked as a on-going support method but with competing interests all clamoring for it the chance of it going to the WAC is a small one.

More tomorrow.......

I have to agree with you. It won't be impossible for Fayetteville to get picked. But it's going to have to work pretty hard to get picked. I do think the deck is being stacked in favor of a Benton County location. I think Fayetteville is going to have to put together a very nice package for them to convince the WAC Board. I'm pretty excited about the Mill District location. But I'm trying not to get too excited about it as well. I think it will be a pretty big upset if Fayetteville is able to pull this out.

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I have to agree with you. It won't be impossible for Fayetteville to get picked. But it's going to have to work pretty hard to get picked. I do think the deck is being stacked in favor of a Benton County location. I think Fayetteville is going to have to put together a very nice package for them to convince the WAC Board. I'm pretty excited about the Mill District location. But I'm trying not to get too excited about it as well. I think it will be a pretty big upset if Fayetteville is able to pull this out.

Yeah, it's like we discussed before- the Board is trying to get Fayetteville used to the idea before lowering the boom. The more I read about it the more obviuos that is becoming.

I just hope that our city leaders do the right thing and take over control of the current facilities and the programming there. Letting the WAC decide what events come to Fayetteville would be a big mistake.

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Hopefully they will consider in their appearance-of-fair-play performance that a lot of people will be wasting time and money trying to put together proposals.

Every time I hear one of those WAC guys speak and say "We are not moving", it just sounds so political to me, like they are trying so hard to be diplomatic.

Whatever the Walton family wants, they will do. Nothing else will even be considered.

It appears at this point in time, their desire is to make Bentonville the NWA arts hub.

I won't be driving 540 very often, if at all to attend WAC events in Bentonville so I can eat at a chain restaurant.

I hope if the WAC heads north, the city can gain full control of the current WAC and have control over performances and content.

Yes, I am feeling bitterness and resentment already.

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Hopefully they will consider in their appearance-of-fair-play performance that a lot of people will be wasting time and money trying to put together proposals.

Every time I hear one of those WAC guys speak and say "We are not moving", it just sounds so political to me, like they are trying so hard to be diplomatic.

Whatever the Walton family wants, they will do. Nothing else will even be considered.

It appears at this point in time, their desire is to make Bentonville the NWA arts hub.

I won't be driving 540 very often, if at all to attend WAC events in Bentonville so I can eat at a chain restaurant.

I hope if the WAC heads north, the city can gain full control of the current WAC and have control over performances and content.

Yes, I am feeling bitterness and resentment already.

Like everyone else, to me it just wouldn't feel right having the arts center anywhere other than Fayetteville. And it has nothing to do with geography. Dickson Street & surrounding area has always been rich in culture, diversity, and free thinking individuals. All of which create a great environment for the arts. Bentonville, while a nice town in it's own right, has none of these things. My wife always refers to Bentonville as "Stepford" and I tend to agree.

Another detriment I see in the Bentonville site is the somewhat continual loss of jobs at Walmart's corporate headquarters. If you're spending 100's of millions of dollars on lavish art museums and concert halls while laying off 100's of dedicated employees every year, over time this may create a public relations nightmare. No one wants to stand on the podium at the grand opening and say something like: "I would like to dedicate this Performing Arts Center to the citizens of Bentonville. Many of whom can no longer afford a ticket."

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Like everyone else, to me it just wouldn't feel right having the arts center anywhere other than Fayetteville. And it has nothing to do with geography. Dickson Street & surrounding area has always been rich in culture, diversity, and free thinking individuals. All of which create a great environment for the arts. Bentonville, while a nice town in it's own right, has none of these things. My wife always refers to Bentonville as "Stepford" and I tend to agree.

Another detriment I see in the Bentonville site is the somewhat continual loss of jobs at Walmart's corporate headquarters. If you're spending 100's of millions of dollars on lavish art museums and concert halls while laying off 100's of dedicated employees every year, over time this may create a public relations nightmare. No one wants to stand on the podium at the grand opening and say something like: "I would like to dedicate this Performing Arts Center to the citizens of Bentonville. Many of whom can no longer afford a ticket."

That is a good point to make- like you, I don't have anything against Bentonville or Benton County. I prefer lving in Fayetteville with all it has to offer including the WAC. Generally, what is good for the metro is good for all of us in NWA. On the other hand, removing the premier performing arts center of NWA from Fayetteville will harm the city and that is not good for the metro. A better scenario would be to have the visual arts center in the north and the performing arts center in the south creating cultural opportunties metro wide.

Another good point about the job losses at the Home Office. This is an ongoing process of decentralization by Wal Mart and will likely lead to more layoffs in the area. The projections that Benton County will grow to almost 400,000 by 2030 seem much less likely to come true. One of the reasons given for a Benton County location was the growth there but I doubt that less growth will cause a change of heart in picking a site.

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I think most of us realize this forum is dominated by Fayetteville residents so we tend to see things from a Fayetteville perspective. Population in Benton County may slow but it is still bigger than Washington County. I'm not sure if I see Washington County passing it back anytime soon. I understand why they could build the new facility in Benton County. But as a Fayetteville resident who's helped support them I will also feel betrayed. Where woulds the WAC be without the support of Fayetteville and the U of A as well? Maybe over time I'll get used to it and not feel so bitter. But now I have my doubts I'd ever attend any performance at the new facility if it's located in Benton County. I also question whether I'd want to attend an event here in Fayetteville as well if it's going to be under the WAC's authority. I'd not like I go and attend every act/performance. But it seems to me that this could leave enough bitterness that I'd probably not feel like attending future events unless it's somehow something I'd really really want to see. Then of course it would also probably be shown at the new facility in Benton County not here. But as I said maybe I'm just speaking out of anger and will eventually get used to the idea. I suppose there's still a shot Fayetteville could get it. But as I said before to me it seems a longshot.

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I wonder about the likelihood that people up there will attend performances. I really know nothing of the demographics of people who go to WAC, but I assume it includes people who have some extra money and who like to "go out". I don't know the true demographics of the region, but I have doubts that our little metro can support the WAC up there.

I wish we could delay the move until our population has grown much more. If the move causes Fayetteville to take over the WAC programming, it may lead to competition, and I thought it had been established that our cities need to work together for everyone's economic benefit.

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Bentonville, while a nice town in it's own right, has none of these things. My wife always refers to Bentonville as "Stepford" and I tend to agree.

That's pretty funny. From another view, I always wonder if the corporate trenches of wal-mart, jbhunt, and tyson influences how people treat others outside of work when those places seem so demanding of your soul sometimes. Maybe you can have a life outside of there if you're single, but not married with kids.

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I wonder about the likelihood that people up there will attend performances. I really know nothing of the demographics of people who go to WAC, but I assume it includes people who have some extra money and who like to "go out". I don't know the true demographics of the region, but I have doubts that our little metro can support the WAC up there.

I wish we could delay the move until our population has grown much more. If the move causes Fayetteville to take over the WAC programming, it may lead to competition, and I thought it had been established that our cities need to work together for everyone's economic benefit.

It's important to remember that the location decison is about much more than ease of attending events or how it affects a certain demographic. Right now, Fayetteville is the cultural center of region as it once was the retail center and air transporation center for a large area of NWA, NE Oklahoma and SW Missouri. It had the only large higher education school in the area and was the center for most media outlets. That has changed as Wal Mart has brought growth and wealth to Benton County- Fayetteville has lost much and needs to hold on to the premier performing arts center of NWA.

The WAC as a cultural asset is much more important to Fayetteville than it will be to anywhere else. When businesses such as the Green companies that Fayetteville is attempting to recruit are looking for cities to set up in cultural assets are one of the quality of life factors they look at. When the U of A is recruiting faculty, administrators and students having the WAC next door is a positive- losing it will be a negative. The loss of the show entourages and attendees coming to Fayetteville will hurt the entire city. Having the out-dated secondary center with programing leftovers will work against Fayetteville. Economic competition is a fact and Fayetteville is losing- the sales tax revenue figures bear this out month after month.

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Economic competition is a fact and Fayetteville is losing- the sales tax revenue figures bear this out month after month.

That's a good reason for a Fayetteville resident to be concerned, but should it concern a Bentonville resident or our metro in general? Sam Walton did not consider it ethical to accept even a coke from a possible vendor or supplier. Now the vendors, suppliers, and "associates" live in the same neighborhood and are changing the rules in Bentonville. Change is inevitable here, and although I don't like this possible change Fayetteville will have to work harder. I don't think we should compete because it will hurt us all, but it seems like you are saying it is too late and you might be right.

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Another good point about the job losses at the Home Office. This is an ongoing process of decentralization by Wal Mart and will likely lead to more layoffs in the area. The projections that Benton County will grow to almost 400,000 by 2030 seem much less likely to come true. One of the reasons given for a Benton County location was the growth there but I doubt that less growth will cause a change of heart in picking a site.

This is an interesting point, and probably deserves its own topic.

NWA is at quite the crossroads. The real estate fall out has pummeled the area and now Wal-Mart is moving to decentralize its operations. While it will still be a corporate behemoth, it's probably not going to contribute to any new growth.

Wal-Mart has brought thousands upon thousands of talented people to the area. The question is, will these people stick around and become entrepreneurs and/or move to another company in the area? Or will they pickup and move to the next corporate job out of state?

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That's a good reason for a Fayetteville resident to be concerned, but should it concern a Bentonville resident or our metro in general? Sam Walton did not consider it ethical to accept even a coke from a possible vendor or supplier. Now the vendors, suppliers, and "associates" live in the same neighborhood and are changing the rules in Bentonville. Change is inevitable here, and although I don't like this possible change Fayetteville will have to work harder. I don't think we should compete because it will hurt us all, but it seems like you are saying it is too late and you might be right.

I'd be surprised if the average Bentonville resident or businessperson were not cheering for the WAC to locate it's main facility there. They won't be making the site decision though- it will be the leaders of a global corporation that should be concerned about the metro as a whole and the end decision will most likely be made by a Fort Worth, Tx. resident. They should have a much broader outlook on how their decision will affect NWA.

You are right in that Fayetteville has to work harder. Tjhe city is fighting an uphill battle. Economic competition is healthy when there is a level playing field but when it is unbalanced due to the influence of one huge corporation it can hurt the entire area. If I were a Benton County resident I would be concerned about depending on the whims of a few extremely wealthy individuals for my economic well-being.

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It's important to remember that the location decison is about much more than ease of attending events or how it affects a certain demographic. Right now, Fayetteville is the cultural center of region as it once was the retail center and air transporation center for a large area of NWA, NE Oklahoma and SW Missouri. It had the only large higher education school in the area and was the center for most media outlets. That has changed as Wal Mart has brought growth and wealth to Benton County- Fayetteville has lost much and needs to hold on to the premier performing arts center of NWA.

The WAC as a cultural asset is much more important to Fayetteville than it will be to anywhere else. When businesses such as the Green companies that Fayetteville is attempting to recruit are looking for cities to set up in cultural assets are one of the quality of life factors they look at. When the U of A is recruiting faculty, administrators and students having the WAC next door is a positive- losing it will be a negative. The loss of the show entourages and attendees coming to Fayetteville will hurt the entire city. Having the out-dated secondary center with programing leftovers will work against Fayetteville. Economic competition is a fact and Fayetteville is losing- the sales tax revenue figures bear this out month after month.

I disagree with regard to Fayetteville having "lost much" in regard to retail, air travel, and education. With regard to education and retail, it's more like Benton county has improved, becoming on par on the retail/restaurant side. As far as air travel is concerned, Benton County improved much with XNA, but it helped Fayetteville too--better to have an airport 30 minutes away with more destinations, more flights, and on faster planes than having one that's 10 minutes away but with completely inferior scheduled services. Regarding higher ed is concerned, well, NWACC has improved but Fayetteville is still far superior in that category.

With regard to the WAC, that would certainly be a loss not just for Fayetteville but for the region. Putting an arts center in conservative, dry, relatively culturally dead Benton County doesn't make sense. I think the WAC will suffer with the move and the whole region will lose out.

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I disagree with regard to Fayetteville having "lost much" in regard to retail, air travel, and education. With regard to education and retail, it's more like Benton county has improved, becoming on par on the retail/restaurant side. As far as air travel is concerned, Benton County improved much with XNA, but it helped Fayetteville too--better to have an airport 30 minutes away with more destinations, more flights, and on faster planes than having one that's 10 minutes away but with completely inferior scheduled services. Regarding higher ed is concerned, well, NWACC has improved but Fayetteville is still far superior in that category.

With regard to the WAC, that would certainly be a loss not just for Fayetteville but for the region. Putting an arts center in conservative, dry, relatively culturally dead Benton County doesn't make sense. I think the WAC will suffer with the move and the whole region will lose out.

XNA is a much better facility for the metro as a whole and Fayetteville's airport has found a niche to be successful in- but it was still a loss for Fayetteville. It was the destination for the major airlines serving the area and all the benefits that brings. If XNA had been built in the Tontitown area like was discussed at the time it would have lessened the negative impact on Fayetteville.

The retail effect has been much greater- the NWA Mall area used to be the primary destination for the whole region- now development in that area has slowed and the mall itself has more vacanciies than it ever has had before.

For the most part NWACC serves a different student base than the UofA but it still takes some students and funding that might have came to Fayetteville. I don't begrudge Benton County for it's success- I just hate seeing it have a negative impact on Fayetteville. I certainly agree that Benton County doesn't have the atmosphere that Fayetteville has and if the new venue is built there it will lose the benefits that Fayetteville offers.

Looking at Google Earth there are several spots along I540 in Fayetteville that could be used for the expansion although none are close to the entertainment district. The Marioni property that Mith mentioned at the SE corner of I540 and Wedington gives great access and is still sort of close to the University and entertainment district. Since it is owned by one group it should be easier to acquire and as community minded as the Marionis are they might help make that happen.

Another option could be the Paradigm Development property just north of Sam's Club off Hwy. 112. I'm sure the developer would love to have the expansion built there. It would give great access but is a distance from supporting establishments.

The farm that is just south of the I540/Fulbright Expressway interchange could be used but I doubt the family that owns it would be interested.

There is plenty of room in the CMN II business park with access to resturants and shopping but access is still a problem. There is another exit planned off I540 between the Fulbright and Johnson exits but that is so far in the future I don't know if that would have an impact on the decision or not.

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There is some public discussion about a contract with the Walton Arts Center concerning the direction of some paid parking revenue to the center with the stipulation that it not build any future perfomance facilities outside the city of Fayetteville. This is a recommendation by the city attorney Kit Williams. This idea of giving the WAC some parking revenue came from the center earlier in the paid parking discussion but had not been publicy discussed since the city started having public meetings about paid parking. The mayor's office had said they would have a plan to keep the WAC expansion in Fayetteville by the end of April but after the WAC extended it's deadline for location proposals to August evidently the mayor's plan has been delayed also.

The idea proposed by Kit Williams is much better than anything the mayor's office has came up with. It's not ideal- all parking revenue would be better spent on parking improvements but if the idea kept NWA's premier performing arts center in Fayetteville it would be well worth it. From first comments it seems the mayor's office is against the idea but they have always seemed willing to let the WAC expand away from Fayeteville.

In a very curious statement the mayor's chief of staff was quoted as saying “Rather than creating scenarios of what happens if they (WAC) leave, we need to put some ideas forward to establish a better partnership.” This is directly opposite of what the the WAC and mayor's office has been saying all along- that the WAC is NOT leaving and will continue to be in Fayetteville. It seems that they do recognize that building the expansion away from Fayetteville is in fact the WAC leaving the city. Regardless of what the expansion is named it will be in importance what the present facility is now. This is also another instance where it seems that Lioneld Jordan and Don Marr are working as co-mayors of the city instead of mayor and subordinate. It also seems that Kit Williams has Fayetteville's best interests at heart whle Lioneld Jordan and Don Marr are fiddling while Fayetteville burns.

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There is some public discussion about a contract with the Walton Arts Center concerning the direction of some paid parking revenue to the center with the stipulation that it not build any future perfomance facilities outside the city of Fayetteville. This is a recommendation by the city attorney Kit Williams. This idea of giving the WAC some parking revenue came from the center earlier in the paid parking discussion but had not been publicy discussed since the city started having public meetings about paid parking. The mayor's office had said they would have a plan to keep the WAC expansion in Fayetteville by the end of April but after the WAC extended it's deadline for location proposals to August evidently the mayor's plan has been delayed also.

The idea proposed by Kit Williams is much better than anything the mayor's office has came up with. It's not ideal- all parking revenue would be better spent on parking improvements but if the idea kept NWA's premier performing arts center in Fayetteville it would be well worth it. From first comments it seems the mayor's office is against the idea but they have always seemed willing to let the WAC expand away from Fayeteville.

In a very curious statement the mayor's chief of staff was quoted as saying “Rather than creating scenarios of what happens if they (WAC) leave, we need to put some ideas forward to establish a better partnership.” This is directly opposite of what the the WAC and mayor's office has been saying all along- that the WAC is NOT leaving and will continue to be in Fayetteville. It seems that they do recognize that building the expansion away from Fayetteville is in fact the WAC leaving the city. Regardless of what the expansion is named it will be in importance what the present facility is now. This is also another instance where it seems that Lioneld Jordan and Don Marr are working as co-mayors of the city instead of mayor and subordinate. It also seems that Kit Williams has Fayetteville's best interests at heart while Lioneld Jordan and Don Marr are fiddling while Fayetteville burns.

Interesting. I think I like Kit Williams' idea. I think you can set something up where it doesn't seem that antagonistic to the WAC. If the WAC insists that it builds it main facility outside of Fayetteville, then Fayetteville should do what's best for it and not give up control of that parking lot. There has been some confusion over the whole thing but I'd like to think now most people know we're talking about where the WAC locates it's main facility not that the WAC is leaving Fayetteville. It does make you wonder if Jordan's already given up and not going to try to fight keeping the main WAC facility in Fayetteville.

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Interesting. I think I like Kit Williams' idea. I think you can set something up where it doesn't seem that antagonistic to the WAC. If the WAC insists that it builds it main facility outside of Fayetteville, then Fayetteville should do what's best for it and not give up control of that parking lot. There has been some confusion over the whole thing but I'd like to think now most people know we're talking about where the WAC locates it's main facility not that the WAC is leaving Fayetteville. It does make you wonder if Jordan's already given up and not going to try to fight keeping the main WAC facility in Fayetteville.

Yes, there is confusion over what is being said about the WAC remaining in Fayetteville regardless of where the expansion is built. The WAC officals try to make it sound as if they would be doing Fayetteville a favor by retaining control of the present facility and the programiing that would be there. In fact, the reason they want to retain control of it is to stifle competition for ticketbuyers and financial support. It is not in Fayetteville's best interest to let an organization that would do harm to the city continue to operate the present facility. If the expansion is built away from Fayetteville it will be everything that the present facilty is to the city now and that the city will lose in the process.

The action by the WAC of gathering location proposals seems more like an attempt to appear impartial rather than being truely impartial. It wasn't published as to how much was spent on the study that led to the original three possible locations being recommended but it is highly unlikely that it will be ignored. The downtown Fayetteville location has seemingly been disqualified by the critria put out since then. The Pinnacle location has also been discarded so that leaves only the Crystal Bridges site as viable according to the study.

A new facilty built at Crystal Bridges would be very successful in it's first couple of years. WAC officals could make good on their assurances that the secondary Fayetteville facilty would be treated well for that period. After the newness of the Crystal Bridges facilty wears off and everyone has made an appearance for society purposes and seen the new building the attractiveness of the experience will wear off. Ticket sales and attendance will drop and there will be pressure to promote that facility to the Fayetteville facilty's detriment. Fayetteville will be left with second rate programing and no way to change it. This isn't an imaginary scenario- I attend WAC events regularly and speak with fellow attendees. Many have said that they would only occasionally attend events in Benton County and some not at all.

As for concern that uncomplimentary statements about the actions and words of WAC officals will antagonize them; I would say that if the decision to place a $200 million performing arts center away from Fayetteville is decided because of such statements then the decision makers have faulty judgement beyond words. That would be the height of pettiness and highly unlikely.

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