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Old 06-06-2017, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
62,651 posts, read 68,750,040 times
Reputation: 31111

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Quote:
Originally Posted by C24L View Post
I wish there were more wet counties in Arkansas.It would be nice if South Sebastian County was wet too but at least Fort Smith is.
We are getting more every election. I am sure, in the next 10 years the entire state will be wet and not from too much rain. Just the fact some counties will now be able to sell all kinds of wine in their stores is a huge improvement.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:15 PM
 
10,640 posts, read 1,156,974 times
Reputation: 2154
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
We are getting more every election. I am sure, in the next 10 years the entire state will be wet and not from too much rain. Just the fact some counties will now be able to sell all kinds of wine in their stores is a huge improvement.
Thats good to hear.I am glad things are improving,nmnita.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas via ATX
1,082 posts, read 1,029,857 times
Reputation: 1396
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
Fort Smith has a very colorful history - it saw considerable action during the Civil War, and was a significant site in regard to civilian history, with local rural families seeking refuge within the fort itself to escape murderous bushwhackers. My ancestors were among those refugee families, many of whom were later taken to southern Illinois for the duration of the war, only returning in spring of 1865.

Hanging Judge Parker came later. Proximity to Indian Territory and the Arkansas River made Fort Smith a key location during the Civil War. Several good-sized skirmishes were fought nearby - Devil's Backbone just outside of Greenwood, Old Jenny Lind - as both sides struggled for control of the fort.

Just across the river, Van Buren has a striking and nicely restored/maintained Victorian Main Street, with several interesting small businesses and other potential tourist attractions.

Emphasizing this history more would draw history-minded visitors to the area in greater numbers. The current fort is a national historic park and is in good condition. The other sites are less known, though Greenwood's old jail houses a small local history museum and library, with a restored one-room schoolhouse nearby with photos of classes that once attended there (some of my distant cousins are in those pictures). I don't think Devil's Backbone, aka Backbone Mountain, even appears on the Arkansas Civil War Trail. Perhaps Sebastian County could create a local Civil War or local history trail of its own to draw on this remarkable background.

Tourism isn't the whole answer, of course, but it could be stepped up and would add to the local economy as well as to increased awareness of the area.
There are many beautiful historic buildings and Victorian homes in and around downtown Fort Smith. If those buildings existed an hour north, most if not all of them would be high-value, highly desired, and fully renovated by now.

Downtown has some signs of life, and it truly could be a destination with the right leadership and some economic luck. Perhaps as land prices continue to climb in NWA, Fort Smith can drain off some of the light manufacturing that exists here. Proximity to the river and access to shipping lanes that way gives them a slight advantage over NWA in that regard. As does direct access to I-40.
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Old Yesterday, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Van Buren, Arkansas
172 posts, read 71,305 times
Reputation: 156
For my 2 cents, not counting inflation, we absolutely love the area. We moved to Van Buren a week ago and I have not come up with anything that I don't like about the Fort Smith/Van Buren area. Granted, there are not as many restaurants as in Houston, not as much traffic either, and the people we have met have been very friendly.
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Old Today, 09:44 AM
 
178 posts, read 37,092 times
Reputation: 126
After 08 a lot of places went into decline. I lived in HS and it was booming and on the renewal. After 08 money dissapeard and the Majestic project died along with others. Its starting to move again with Max Blade putting in 3/4 of a million to renovate the Malco. Other projects like the clean up of the Majestic and other things. I hope it keeps going.
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Old Today, 10:26 AM
 
3,896 posts, read 2,260,595 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Climber View Post
The biggest problem I see for Fort Smith right now is a brain-drain to the north.

There are just so many opportunities for educated people to move just one hour to Northwest Arkansas.

The single-biggest shot in the arm to Fort Smith would be a freeway connecting it to the ports on the gulf of Mexico.

I'm afraid the state/federal govt has waited too long for that to make much of a difference. In another 20 years, the former manufacturing workforce that existed there will be long gone. Fort Smith would have been an ideal place for auto manufacturing 10 years ago, but because there is no direct route south, for raw materials to arrive and for finished products to be shipped to ports, that never happened.

I'm born and raised in Fort Smith and still reside here today. Fort Smith is unlocking its mental capabilities, but unfortunately we're late to the party compared to NWA. I think of Fort Smith like OKC. The difference is OKC had a big national disaster (Oklahoma City bombing) in the 90s that completely changed that city's makeup. Also, they were peaking during the oil & gas boom, which benefitted them in getting the now Oklahoma City Thunder from Seattle.


NWA has ample opportunities for college grads and it's an area that's far more progressive than Fort Smith. Fort Smith is the place you want to be if you want to raise a family and fulfill your spiritual needs. That's what Fort Smith has always been. A blue collar town that held on to manufacturing for far too long, when other towns/cities were already looking at alternatives.


I love what NWA is doing, but I love what Fort Smith has going on as well. Sure, I could live in NWA, but it's not like it's too far to drive to be up in NWA every weekend if I wanted too. I'm busy enough with work and my own personal hobbies, that living up there Monday - Friday wouldn't be much different from how I live in Fort Smith Monday - Friday. What I do hear and see that's very appealing to NWA is the fact that people can be single and without child and not feel out of place. The area is progressive, so it has many different influences spanning states, countries, racial and spiritual backgrounds. There's a lid for every pot in NWA, where in Fort Smith I wouldn't say that's totally the case.

As for what Fort Smith has going now. We are building up our bike trail network and we're heavily investing in our downtown nightlife and overall downtown atmosphere and perception. Are we ever going to be what NWA is? No, but that's also not our mission. NWA has the state's major university, which gathers students from all walks of life. Fort Smith doesn't receive those kinds of diverse students and thought processes, because UofA Fort Smith can't compare to UofA Fayetteville, nor do you want them to.


Both areas are great, but they're great for their own qualities. It will ultimately depend on what you want and where you see yourself going.
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Old Today, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
62,651 posts, read 68,750,040 times
Reputation: 31111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Climber View Post
There are many beautiful historic buildings and Victorian homes in and around downtown Fort Smith. If those buildings existed an hour north, most if not all of them would be high-value, highly desired, and fully renovated by now.

Downtown has some signs of life, and it truly could be a destination with the right leadership and some economic luck. Perhaps as land prices continue to climb in NWA, Fort Smith can drain off some of the light manufacturing that exists here. Proximity to the river and access to shipping lanes that way gives them a slight advantage over NWA in that regard. As does direct access to I-40.
We were very impressed with the downtown area and the awesome churches plus the Victorian homes, especially the one that I believe is the welcome center. Anyway we toured it and heard he history of it. Wow, is all I can say. Even though it was not the place we wanted to live in our autumn years, I can see there could be a future there and it isn't that far from NWA. In fact many consider it part of the region.
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