Economic and Community Development
Road Reports – Part 4
I’ve been burning up the airports and highways over the past month visiting multiple ACCE member chambers across several states. I never fail to take away valuable tidbits and lessons from every visit. The fourth installment of this series is from Northwest Arkansas.
Over the past few decades, few regions have experience more growth and prosperity than Northwest Arkansas. Wal-Mart’s expansion and vast supplier network has kept the region booming for years. But business leaders are now thinking about the next economic and employment engines, and they’re thinking regionally.
A strategic plan developed with Market Street Services is guiding the region’s next phase of growth. Infrastructure development (specifically roads) is a huge focus. Job centers are scattered across the region so the main artery, I-540, can get congested in either direction at any time. But quality of life and place-making issues like arts, cultural, bike trails and sports venues, are a big focus too. With the opening last year of the world class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, they’ve quickly leapfrogged many competitor regions on the arts and culture front.
With continued strength of big corporate players, anchor institutions like the University of Arkansas, a growing airport, serious philanthropic dollars, and a new entrepreneurial focus, keep an eye on Northwest Arkansas.