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bigboyz05

Will NWA Ever Be #1?

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NWA has grown like crazy having the fastest growth rates in the state. Do you think NWA will ever become the largest metro in the state?

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NWA has grown like crazy having the fastest growth rates in the state. Do you think NWA will ever become the largest metro in the state?

This question has popped up a number of times in the past. While I suppose anything can happen far into the future, I just don't see it happening. At least not in our lifetimes. While some cities like North Little Rock have been pretty stagnant, if you look at the counties outside of NWA that are growing the most they're around Little Rock. While NWA may be gaining, central Arkansas is seeing it's fair share of growth as well. Central Arkansas probably has infrastructure better in place for sustained growth than NWA. NWA has been unsuccessful in even getting a bypass around Bella Vista. Let alone even think about getting the bigger projects going like the Hwy 412 bypass and so on. Another big factor that didn't get mentioned a lot at the time is that Walmart has changed it's strategy. For a while Walmart was funneling everything through Bentonville and making the vendors come and open up offices in NWA. But now Walmart is starting to 'regionalize' more instead of having everything happen at one specific location. Which means less job growth for NWA. And to be honest I think there's a substantial amount of people here who don't want NWA to be the biggest metro in the state. NWA still pretty much has a suburban outlook on things. With no dense 'urban' growth really I think that's going to also hinder things as well. Anyway, that's pretty much my take on the matter.

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Yeah, Mith mentioned the number one reason that Central Arkansas will remain #1- job growth. There is no clear job growth driver for NWA and since people go where the jobs are it is likely that the area will see only moderate growth in the future. All those predictions of a few years ago were based on the growth rates of the boom years and those years are over. Also like Mith mentioned- that may be a good thing because the area was poised to grow through mostly sprawl and that would have lowered the quality of life, IMO. I'd love to see the area grow more but only if infill and redevelopment of older areas were made priorities and zoning laws forcing higher density development were enacted.

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As far as growth projections for the area are they expected to slow down, speed up or remain the same?

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Yeah, Mith mentioned the number one reason that Central Arkansas will remain #1- job growth. There is no clear job growth driver for NWA and since people go where the jobs are it is likely that the area will see only moderate growth in the future. All those predictions of a few years ago were based on the growth rates of the boom years and those years are over. Also like Mith mentioned- that may be a good thing because the area was poised to grow through mostly sprawl and that would have lowered the quality of life, IMO. I'd love to see the area grow more but only if infill and redevelopment of older areas were made priorities and zoning laws forcing higher density development were enacted.

Good point about the job market. While it does seem all the major companies in Arkansas are located in NWA it also makes us rather dependent on them as well. Little Rock has a much more diversified job market. Which in the long run will be beneficiary to Little Rock.

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As far as growth projections for the area are they expected to slow down, speed up or remain the same?

I'm pretty sure everybody is expecting growth to continue. But I don't think it's going to be the boom years that it was in the 90's and early 00's. At the height NWA was adding 2,000-3,000 people a month. I don't hear about monthly figures anymore. But NWA will keep growing, just not sure how quickly. I think it will keep slowly closing in on central Arkansas. But not fast enough that NWA will be having to worry about overtaking central Arkansas.

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