Growing Pains in Northwest Arkansas

Like other small communities suddenly made popular during the Covid-19 pandemic, the region is struggling to maange its explosive growth.

1 minute read

September 20, 2023, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Main Street in Bentonville, Arkansas with three-story brick buildings, people sitting at tables on sidewalk, and sign on building for "The Walmart Museum."

Roberto / Adobe Stock

Writing in Axios, Worth Sparkman describes the growing pains being experienced by Northwest Arkansas, a region undergoing a major transformation.

“Essentially a cluster of 31 small to midsize towns, NWA is the 15th-fastest-growing area in the U.S., on pace to hit nearly 1 million residents by 2045”—double its current population size. The region, home to Walmart, is booming with new businesses, with over 3,500 new businesses registered in the state in the first half of 2023 and commercial vacancies at a record low.

Local officials are wary of the imminent changes, which have led to sharp increases in housing costs and other tensions locally and in other fast-growing rural areas and small towns. According to the article, “Housing prices soared as much as 60% between 2019 and 2022, traffic is worse than ever, and there are concerns about water quality as cities sprawl.”

Greg Hines, mayor of Rogers, Arkansas, says “Collaboration among the cities on issues such as mass transit, roads, infrastructure and attainable workforce housing will be key to mitigating the aches of growth.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2023 in Axios

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