Sometimes, I think it's a good thing that NW Arkansas isn't growing as fast as it was a few years ago. It allows us to step back and take stock. We can look at what was happening then and how it affected the area and decide if that's how we want future growth to look.
One trend which has been noted and bandied about by elected officials and others is that of developing a so-called "green corridor" in NW Arkansas to try to attract clean businesses and pursue green growth concepts. And it's working. Fayetteville was just named number 2 in the Huffington Post's "7 Unexpectedly Green Cities" in the US, along with such places as Eugene, OR (#1 on their list), Austin, TX, Huntsville, AL, Nashua, NH, Reno, NV, and Long Beach, CA.
We have an opportunity here to decide how we want our quality of life to look many years in the future. For example, the Fayetteville Trail System is expanding and drawing recognition from elsewhere. Our farmer's market on the Fayetteville Square was among the first in the area, but now there are others, such as at the Jones Center in Springdale and elsewhere. There's talk of a possible light rail system connecting the NW Arkansas towns, a project that I think would provide a lot of great jobs and rejuvenate the centers of town in many of our communities, not to mention provide our construction workers with projects to build. And (to promote a somewhat self-serving advantage of all of this) the injection of good jobs will also help the housing market as new people move into northwest Arkansas.
A glimpse at the other Unexpectedly Green cities is also worthwhile as a suggestion of what types of projects may be worthy of attention by northwest Arkansas officials and decision-makers for our area in the future.
Altogether Fayetteville and NW Arkansas have been the subject of many studies of the "best places" to live, raise a family, do business, etc. The most recent of these was the selection of Rogers as #10 in CNN's Top 100 of America's Best Small Cities. This focus on "green" can help preserve the quality of life of Northwest Arkansas, stimulate business and provide the basis for future intelligent growth.