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slyder1

***New MSA Population Estimates for 2009***

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So the new census estimates are out for 2009 and NWA has never stopped booming. The 2009 Estimate for the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA is 464,623!!! Lets get to the facts... the previous estimate for 2008 had the NWA MSA at 443,000 people, the census is now saying that there was actually 455,408 instead. From July, 2008-July, 2009 the NWA MSA gained 9,215 people. Pretty freak'n impressive during this economy to say the least. If you take all this into account, looking at the average amount of people NWA has gained each year I think it's safe to say that NWA will surpass the 470,000 mark for the 2010 Census.

I think this decade (2010-2020) NWA will really see a physical change in the Metro with roads and new building projects.

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So the new census estimates are out for 2009 and NWA has never stopped booming. The 2009 Estimate for the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA is 464,623!!! Lets get to the facts... the previous estimate for 2008 had the NWA MSA at 443,000 people, the census is now saying that there was actually 455,408 instead. From July, 2008-July, 2009 the NWA MSA gained 9,215 people. Pretty freak'n impressive during this economy to say the least. If you take all this into account, looking at the average amount of people NWA has gained each year I think it's safe to say that NWA will surpass the 470,000 mark for the 2010 Census.

I think this decade (2010-2020) NWA will really see a physical change in the Metro with roads and new building projects.

Thanks for the figures. Yeah I've been really curious to see how the census numbers turn out later this year. While the economy was good NWA really grew. But I think this past year really saw the population growth slow down a lot. Although overall I think a lot more people are staying where they are and not moving around as much. But I am curious to see how the area deals with the upcoming decade. I think this downturn in the economy really caught people off-guard and now aren't so optimistic. I do think NWA is now getting to the point where they'll start to have more control over. NWA has gotten the short end of the stick a lot of times when it comes to state money and funding for roads. But NWA should now have more control after the census figures are official. There's a lot of potential here, but I do think the metro is going to have to start dealing with more infrastructure issues as well. It will be interesting to see how well we deal with that.

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Thanks for the info- it will be interesting to see if the actual census bears those numbers out.

One aspect of the population growth that has changed in the last few years is the drop off in immigration of Hispanics to the area- in fact many have left the area because of the huge drop in construction activity and the jobs it provided. Please, no one should take this as a political statement or try to make it into anything other than an observation of the facts. A large part of Springdale's and Roger's growth of the boom period was due to immigration of Hispanics to the area. Without a subsequent boom period and the construction activity and jobs that reason for population growth should diminish.

At this point I don't think anyone has indentified another impetus for the growth that we had during the boom period. The growth of Wal Mart as a corporation fueled the boom years along with Tyson's merger with IBP and JB Hunt's growth. Now, Wal Mart is decentralizing and seems more likely to decrease it's employment in the area than add to it. Most of the Wal Mart vendors either already have offices here or will not establish a presence in the area - I don't see a lot of Chinese companies coming here. Tyson has grown into one of the largest companies of it's type - there doesn't seem to be a lot of growth potential for it as far as employment in the area. There's a lot of talk about creating a Green Valley type environment in the area but that doesn't seem likely to fuel the sort of population growth that we experienced in the boom years.

It seems more likely that we will see moderate growth of population due to the the general attractiveness of the area and the growth of the University of Arkansas. NWA doesn't have the critical mass of corporate presence that an area like the Dallas metro has to create new jobs. The largest new metros will continue to explode -DFW adds a population equal to Little Rock every year. NWA will be a refuge for some that want to live a slower life and to take advantage of career building opportunities at Wal Mart- related businesses. And you know what? I think most of us are just fine with that!

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Thanks for the info- it will be interesting to see if the actual census bears those numbers out.

One aspect of the population growth that has changed in the last few years is the drop off in immigration of Hispanics to the area- in fact many have left the area because of the huge drop in construction activity and the jobs it provided. Please, no one should take this as a political statement or try to make it into anything other than an observation of the facts. A large part of Springdale's and Roger's growth of the boom period was due to immigration of Hispanics to the area. Without a subsequent boom period and the construction activity and jobs that reason for population growth should diminish.

At this point I don't think anyone has indentified another impetus for the growth that we had during the boom period. The growth of Wal Mart as a corporation fueled the boom years along with Tyson's merger with IBP and JB Hunt's growth. Now, Wal Mart is decentralizing and seems more likely to decrease it's employment in the area than add to it. Most of the Wal Mart vendors either already have offices here or will not establish a presence in the area - I don't see a lot of Chinese companies coming here. Tyson has grown into one of the largest companies of it's type - there doesn't seem to be a lot of growth potential for it as far as employment in the area. There's a lot of talk about creating a Green Valley type environment in the area but that doesn't seem likely to fuel the sort of population growth that we experienced in the boom years.

It seems more likely that we will see moderate growth of population due to the the general attractiveness of the area and the growth of the University of Arkansas. NWA doesn't have the critical mass of corporate presence that an area like the Dallas metro has to create new jobs. The largest new metros will continue to explode -DFW adds a population equal to Little Rock every year. NWA will be a refuge for some that want to live a slower life and to take advantage of career building opportunities at Wal Mart- related businesses. And you know what? I think most of us are just fine with that!

I do agree with you the days of the big population boom is probably over. As you said, the big industries that powered NWA aren't as likely to add lots of new jobs to the area. The big draw will be quality of life and such. I suppose once the economy picks back up we can see if Fayetteville has any success picking up more 'green' jobs. Not sure if Fayetteville trying to attract Swedish green industries is over of just on hiatus with the current economy. I've wondered if NWA needs the Walmart, Tyson and such to keep bringing people. Little Rock hasn't really had the big industries NWA has. Perhaps it's big draw is the fact it's the actual capitol and political center. The big trend for a while now has been the growth of metros. Rural areas and smaller cities are losing population. So I think will continue to see central Arkansas and NWA be the centers of growth for the state. There most likely will continued population growth but it's probably going to be the slower sustained growth. While part of me wouldn't mind seeing another boom that might help push more people out of the suburban frame of mind. It might be a good time for the area to catch up on infrastructure. The area simply can't handle a continued boom of the 90's and early 00's.

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Litle Rock has a definite long term advantage in being the center of state government and the only true urban metro in the state. NWA will be at a disadvantage due to it being a series of small cities spread out along a long corridor. If you look at some of the other metros that are close to NWA in size but have one city center instead of four the disadvantage is clear. I don't know the answer or even if there is one but a regional government of some type with uniform development standards is needed.

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I have a question about the census... Does anyone know how long it takes to count the census? Is it like 2 months, 6 months, a year? I was just wanting to know when the official numbers are coming out.

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I have a question about the census... Does anyone know how long it takes to count the census? Is it like 2 months, 6 months, a year? I was just wanting to know when the official numbers are coming out.

I'm trying to remember how long it took back in 2000. I'm not positive but if I had to guess, I'd say late summer to early fall is when when find out. At best I'd say mid summer. But that's just my guess.

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Almost 500,000 seems to be way bigger than reality, even though I know it's an accurate enough estimate. I mean, there's about 250,000 people residing in the main five cities. Something like that.

Doesn't seem possible that there's another quarter million or so people out there outside of them.

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Almost 500,000 seems to be way bigger than reality, even though I know it's an accurate enough estimate. I mean, there's about 250,000 people residing in the main five cities. Something like that.

Doesn't seem possible that there's another quarter million or so people out there outside of them.

I think overall the population in Washington County is pretty much focused in Fayetteville and Springdale. But it's Benton County that's all over the place. In Benton County you have Rogers, Bentonville and Bella Vista. But there's quite a bit of population spread around. It's flatter in general compared to Washington County. So more towns and communities popped up in Benton County. Then developers also look for what's easiest to develop which is of course flat land. I think it also speaks to the suburban sprawl our metro has. But I admit it is a bit odd to think of our metro getting close to the 500k mark. Especially when there's not really any 'defined center'.

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While part of me wouldn't mind seeing another boom that might help push more people out of the suburban frame of mind. It might be a good time for the area to catch up on infrastructure. The area simply can't handle a continued boom of the 90's and early 00's.

I've wondered about that myself- would another boom and a rapid influx of people to the area cause a change in the type of development? I'm concerned that another boom would cause more sprawl simply because of the economics of sprawl being cheaper in the short term. It is cheaper for a developer to go out to the outlying areas, buy cheaper acreage and put in the local infrastructure than it is to buy more expensive land closer to the center of town and develop it. Another boom would cause so much development pressure that more sprawl would be inevitable- a moderate rate of growth will enable better chances for the infill and redevelopment that NWA needs.

We don't want to get into a pattern where dense urban development only occurs because traffic is so terrible that it is the only alternative. The cities in NWA need to enact the zoning regulations and building codes that require more efficent use of the area in the central corridor of the region. Infill and redevelopment should be at the top of every city planners list of things to do. Height restrictions should be a minimal concern. Building plans that utilize every square foot of a lot should be encouraged. Variable impact fees that encourage development in the central corridor and discourage it out at the edges should be enacted. Even without a central city center in NWA it is possible to build a great metro that is a model of sustainability.

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I've wondered about that myself- would another boom and a rapid influx of people to the area cause a change in the type of development? I'm concerned that another boom would cause more sprawl simply because of the economics of sprawl being cheaper in the short term. It is cheaper for a developer to go out to the outlying areas, buy cheaper acreage and put in the local infrastructure than it is to buy more expensive land closer to the center of town and develop it. Another boom would cause so much development pressure that more sprawl would be inevitable- a moderate rate of growth will enable better chances for the infill and redevelopment that NWA needs.

We don't want to get into a pattern where dense urban development only occurs because traffic is so terrible that it is the only alternative. The cities in NWA need to enact the zoning regulations and building codes that require more efficient use of the area in the central corridor of the region. Infill and redevelopment should be at the top of every city planners list of things to do. Height restrictions should be a minimal concern. Building plans that utilize every square foot of a lot should be encouraged. Variable impact fees that encourage development in the central corridor and discourage it out at the edges should be enacted. Even without a central city center in NWA it is possible to build a great metro that is a model of sustainability.

It seems to me quite a number of the people that have moved here from other areas are trying to 'get away' from the big cities. Basically that they're seeking out a suburban lifestyle without having to be over an hour away from where they work. Because in the bigger cities the suburbs are farther away from the center of the city. But those cities also have the 'urbanites' who prefer to work and live in the urban core. That's the aspect that's just never really happened here. And that's what I'd really like to see happen here. I guess I'm hoping eventually develop an area that doesn't necessarily have that 'small town feel'. Maybe it's because there's not one dominant city here in our metro. Or maybe it's because so much of our growth is happened in the last two decades where suburban style planning has become so dominant.

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But those cities also have the 'urbanites' who prefer to work and live in the urban core. That's the aspect that's just never really happened here. And that's what I'd really like to see happen here. I guess I'm hoping eventually develop an area that doesn't necessarily have that 'small town feel'. Maybe it's because there's not one dominant city here in our metro. Or maybe it's because so much of our growth is happened in the last two decades where suburban style planning has become so dominant.

I would say that at least SOME people in the metro prefer an urban lifestyle. There are some people in downtown Fayetteville that certainly like it and at least a small percentage of the people moving here are coming from rural areas in Arkansas and are somewhat interested in city life.

As a whole, you are right...a lot of the people moving here are from larger urban centers and just don't want that any longer. They move here because they CAN buy a "real" house with a "real" yard, often with the money they get from selling a much smaller home in a city on the west coast or the north east.

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I would say that at least SOME people in the metro prefer an urban lifestyle. There are some people in downtown Fayetteville that certainly like it and at least a small percentage of the people moving here are coming from rural areas in Arkansas and are somewhat interested in city life.

As a whole, you are right...a lot of the people moving here are from larger urban centers and just don't want that any longer. They move here because they CAN buy a "real" house with a "real" yard, often with the money they get from selling a much smaller home in a city on the west coast or the north east.

Urban life is good in some ways. In other ways, many people find it intolerable. I'd way rather find a way to get the kind of small walkable downtown hometown feeling of central Fayetteville to spread all over Fayetteville. I'm not interested in living in a big, busy impersonal city. They're either too expensive to live easily in, or so full of crime that no one wants to live there.

I think Fayetteville is trying to achieve what I like. Putting houses a little closer together, encouraging connectivity and walkability and some mixed uses will allow us to keep our small town feel while having a lifestyle atypical of most of suburban America car culture.

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Urban life is good in some ways. In other ways, many people find it intolerable. I'd way rather find a way to get the kind of small walkable downtown hometown feeling of central Fayetteville to spread all over Fayetteville. I'm not interested in living in a big, busy impersonal city. They're either too expensive to live easily in, or so full of crime that no one wants to live there.

I think Fayetteville is trying to achieve what I like. Putting houses a little closer together, encouraging connectivity and walkability and some mixed uses will allow us to keep our small town feel while having a lifestyle atypical of most of suburban America car culture.

Yeah, I'm not saying I want Fayetteville to feel like a huge city. But I do wish there was less sprawl and more density. Overall the current building patterns just aren't going to benefit public transportation and also spreading out infrastructure also costs more too. Just seems like metros a little larger than us have at least some of an 'urban' aspect to them. But as I mentioned earlier, maybe it's also the fact most metros have a distinct 'center' to them. Where as our metro is spread out into a number of cities. Maybe if Walmart had been located in Fayetteville rather than Bentonville, Fayetteville could have had a little more going for it and kept it's distinction as the 'center' for NWA.

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I've wondered about that myself- would another boom and a rapid influx of people to the area cause a change in the type of development? I'm concerned that another boom would cause more sprawl simply because of the economics of sprawl being cheaper in the short term. It is cheaper for a developer to go out to the outlying areas, buy cheaper acreage and put in the local infrastructure than it is to buy more expensive land closer to the center of town and develop it. Another boom would cause so much development pressure that more sprawl would be inevitable- a moderate rate of growth will enable better chances for the infill and redevelopment that NWA needs.

We don't want to get into a pattern where dense urban development only occurs because traffic is so terrible that it is the only alternative. The cities in NWA need to enact the zoning regulations and building codes that require more efficent use of the area in the central corridor of the region. Infill and redevelopment should be at the top of every city planners list of things to do. Height restrictions should be a minimal concern. Building plans that utilize every square foot of a lot should be encouraged. Variable impact fees that encourage development in the central corridor and discourage it out at the edges should be enacted. Even without a central city center in NWA it is possible to build a great metro that is a model of sustainability.

I just don't see it. That model doesn't fit the transportation system NWA has. It doesn't make economic sense (given the transportation system) and likely doesn't represent current market demands. We have to ask ourselves is a more dense urban fabric what people really want or what people like me want? I think the latter is more likely. Its a difficult and troubling idea to accept, but people like their back yards and their 3 du/a lifestyle. People like their snouthouses. Besides, despites calls for advocacy of light rail, its simply very unlikely to happen within a timeframe in which we will see NWA's population double (25-30 years, I think?). Light rail would be the game changer if coordinated with land use regulations that promoted TODs.

If your model of development has any hope, it would be in coalescing development around major job centers. Even then it would provide a fragmented urban patchwork. NWA is what it is, and that's what its going to be. All the TNDs won't change the fact that people are still going to get in their cars and drive to work, drive to pick up their kids from school, and drive to here, there, and everywhere. It has everything to do with the regional transportation system and job location. Those factors provide a skeleton upon which evertyhing else builds.

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I just don't see it. That model doesn't fit the transportation system NWA has. It doesn't make economic sense (given the transportation system) and likely doesn't represent current market demands. We have to ask ourselves is a more dense urban fabric what people really want or what people like me want? I think the latter is more likely. Its a difficult and troubling idea to accept, but people like their back yards and their 3 du/a lifestyle. People like their snouthouses. Besides, despites calls for advocacy of light rail, its simply very unlikely to happen within a timeframe in which we will see NWA's population double (25-30 years, I think?). Light rail would be the game changer if coordinated with land use regulations that promoted TODs.

If your model of development has any hope, it would be in coalescing development around major job centers. Even then it would provide a fragmented urban patchwork. NWA is what it is, and that's what its going to be. All the TNDs won't change the fact that people are still going to get in their cars and drive to work, drive to pick up their kids from school, and drive to here, there, and everywhere. It has everything to do with the regional transportation system and job location. Those factors provide a skeleton upon which evertyhing else builds.

My cynical side says you are right- that NWA will remain a big suburb. There doesn't seem to be the political will in any of the cities to change development patterns in any meaningful way. What will most likely happen is that when the current transportation network gets so overloaded that there will be some denser development and local public transit options for it. I think there is some support for a more urban environment in NWA and it will develop but be a small percentage of the total growth that occurs. There is just so much momentum for the sprawl lifestyle that it will be hard to turn it around.

Doesn't hurt to put the ideas out there though. The more it is discussed and the advantages identified the more likely something will come of it. And, I still question the population growth projections. I just don't see where the jobs are going to come from to drive a doubling of the population in 25-30 years.

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My cynical side says you are right- that NWA will remain a big suburb. There doesn't seem to be the political will in any of the cities to change development patterns in any meaningful way. What will most likely happen is that when the current transportation network gets so overloaded that there will be some denser development and local public transit options for it. I think there is some support for a more urban environment in NWA and it will develop but be a small percentage of the total growth that occurs. There is just so much momentum for the sprawl lifestyle that it will be hard to turn it around.

Doesn't hurt to put the ideas out there though. The more it is discussed and the advantages identified the more likely something will come of it. And, I still question the population growth projections. I just don't see where the jobs are going to come from to drive a doubling of the population in 25-30 years.

I shouldn't be so negative. I subscribe to a listserv with CNU/transect people and they can drive you crazy after a while. That and hearing citizens complain about anything less than an 1800 sf house on at least a 10K SF lot is draining. I start feeling like the folks that care AND can make a difference are few and very far between. It just seems like the only mechanism for real change will be something that shifts economic demands, like fuel prices.

I have no idea about future growth up that way. We may both be surprised. The gods of economic fortune work in mysterious ways.

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Yeah thanks. I also was a little surprised with Fayetteville's numbers. Not a big surprise, but I really wasn't sure how the downturn in the economy hurt population figures. But even with those figures it's doubtful Fayetteville will be able to break the 80k mark unless estimates are actually a bit on the low side and the census gets a very good response. Some NWA numbers;

Fayetteville 77,142

Springdale 68,487

Rogers 59,014

Bentonville 36,855

Bella Vista 25,483

Siloam Springs 14,872

Centerton 8,637

Lowell 7,42

Some other numbers around the state;

Fort Smith 85,544

Van Buren 22,663

Conway 59,511

North Little Rock 60,139

Little Rock 191,93

Jonesboro 66,194

Might be another decade before Fayetteville finally surpasses Ft Smith as Arkansas' second biggest city. Guess it just depends on how much both grow. Fayetteville is certainly getting close but Ft Smith is growing enough to draw it out for a little while. For now at least. Jonesboro seems to be growing fast enough to keep above the Benton County core cities. Rogers and Conway still seem to be battling it out. Both are growing fast and neither seem to be able to put much distance on the other.

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Interesting that the main cities are up to almost 300,000 now. I was thinking Fayetteville would hold level around 74,000 or possibly climb to 75,000 but an estimate of almost 3,000 in growth in the last year? Much higher than I'd expected, but I'm glad to see others are loving Fayetteville as much as I do :thumbsup:. Springdale's been considerably slower since the economy started going down, it appears. Benton County is definitely growing a bit faster than Washington County (due to a larger portion of their county being made up of the cities, I think), but it looks like Fayetteville has been growing by the same leaps and bounds Rogers and Bentonville have.

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Interesting that the main cities are up to almost 300,000 now. I was thinking Fayetteville would hold level around 74,000 or possibly climb to 75,000 but an estimate of almost 3,000 in growth in the last year? Much higher than I'd expected, but I'm glad to see others are loving Fayetteville as much as I do :thumbsup:. Springdale's been considerably slower since the economy started going down, it appears. Benton County is definitely growing a bit faster than Washington County (due to a larger portion of their county being made up of the cities, I think), but it looks like Fayetteville has been growing by the same leaps and bounds Rogers and Bentonville have.

I think Benton County has had a couple of big factors over it surpassing Washington County. Walmart has certainly played a big role. But the other I think is the overall topography. Quite a bit of Washington County is covered by the Boston Mtns. While Benton County certainly has it's hilly areas overall it's flatter. Flatter land is what developers look for. A lot cheaper to develop than really hilly land. But even if they had the exact same topography you'd have to give the past decade to Benton County. A lot of the Walmart vendors ended up in Benton County and make enough money to help spur a lot of development and growth up there. And eventually with Crystal Bridges and things like that you'll keep a lot of future growth going up there as well.

I think Springdale was heading for a slowdown anyway. I don't think it's infrastructure could keep up with that type of growth. It will certainly be interesting to see the official 2010 numbers when they eventually come out.

Wanted to move these numbers back onto the new page.

Fayetteville 77,142

Springdale 68,487

Rogers 59,014

Bentonville 36,855

Bella Vista 25,483

Siloam Springs 14,872

Centerton 8,637

Lowell 7,42

Some other numbers around the state;

Fort Smith 85,544

Van Buren 22,663

Conway 59,511

North Little Rock 60,139

Little Rock 191,93

Jonesboro 66,194

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I also am surprised by Fayetteville's numbers- after the special census both it and Sprindale had a few years ago it looked like Springdale was going to pass Fayetteville up. Springdale added a lot of land through some major annexations on both sides of town and made water, wastewater and road improvements and seemed to be on the verge of a major push. The economic slowdown really took it's toll on it's development.

Good point about the land in Benton County being more development friendly. It's shame that most of the development seems to be of the sprawl type though- that will eat up a lot of land and create a whole new set of problems for that area.

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I also am surprised by Fayetteville's numbers- after the special census both it and Sprindale had a few years ago it looked like Springdale was going to pass Fayetteville up. Springdale added a lot of land through some major annexations on both sides of town and made water, wastewater and road improvements and seemed to be on the verge of a major push. The economic slowdown really took it's toll on it's development.

Good point about the land in Benton County being more development friendly. It's shame that most of the development seems to be of the sprawl type though- that will eat up a lot of land and create a whole new set of problems for that area.

Yeah Springdale did make a big move there for a while. Technically it was bigger but it was because they had a special census and Fayetteville hadn't yet. I guess another surprising thing about Fayetteville, is the amount of growth it's had despite a rather vocal anti-growth group in the city.

One more city I wanted to list it's figures.

Hot Springs 39,673

I just now realized how close Bentonville is getting to Hot Springs. Hot Springs is Arkansas' tenth biggest city believe it or not. So in the very near future Bentonville should be in the top ten and pass up Hot Springs. While Hot Springs is growing a little bit, it's pretty slow growth. If Bentonville had a good year they possibly could even do it on the 2010 census. But it will probably take another year or two.

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Good to see NWA doing well considering how crappy the economy's been.

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