By the time you read this, you will be one of 500,000 people living in NW Arkansas. That’s an astounding number for those of us who have made this area our home for many years.
The Northwest Arkansas Council made that projection based on the increase of residents in 2013 census over 2010 census. According to the council, this area grows by 24 people a day. The area includes Benton, Madison and Washington Counties in Arkansas and sparsely populated McDonald County in Missouri.
Half a million people is really not that amazing when one considers the reasons people come here. We have jobs waiting to be filled, cost of living is low, homes and rentals are affordable, four-season weather is pleasant, people are friendly, air is clean and scenery is beautiful.
As the population increases, more businesses open and improved infrastructure is needed. That means more job opportunities. Think of it as an endless circle. Jobs, places to live, roads to build, schools and churches to be built and maintained, more police and fire protection, additional medical facilities, increased recreational amenities, ad infinitum.
The many ways to enjoy leisure time also encourages people to want to live, work or retire here. Take in AAA baseball games at Arvest Ball Park in Springdale. Visit the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville or several other museums sprinkled throughout the area. Attend concerts at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville or at a University of Arkansas venue. Walk, run or bike parts of the Razorback Regional Greenway, a 36-mile paved trail between south Fayetteville and Bella Vista.
The Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion amphitheater in Rogers promises to draw more people to NW Arkansas. The grand opening is June 7 and will star Blake Shelton. Other artists this summer include Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker and Jake Owen.
I could write much more about life here – Beaver Lake, nature, fishing and hunting, Jones Center for Families but I think you get the picture. NW Arkansas is a great place to live.