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Little Rock - Conway area Pulaski, Faulkner, Grant, Lonoke, Perry, and Saline Counties
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Old 06-03-2020, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,651 posts, read 5,224,149 times
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Hi, we're currently living in Minnesota but have lived in the south previously and have wanted to move to Arkansas for 5 years now. We know all about Northwest Arkansas and I interviewed there back in 2016 and 2017, but I also keep hearing great things about the Benton and Saline County region down by Little Rock and wanted to get some opinions on that area as we are once again considering relocating. We need schools with ample special needs programs/experience as we have 2 autistic kids and another who is handicapped. We love the proximity to both Little Rock and Hot Springs Benton provides....and since our handicapped child also receives specialty care form a hospital in Dallas, TX we like the ability to jump right on 30 for a straight shot there and back when necessary. Aside from that we simply want to settle in a nice up and coming community we can grow with. We could move back to TX, but we love the greenery and hills in Arkansas and that is where we've wanted to be ever since our first trip to Hot Springs. Minnesota has been good to us, but we hate the winters and the radical liberal political atmosphere here, not to mention this place is becoming more and more dangerous as we've all witnessed recently. Anyway, look forward to any advice and/or opinions with all apologies to those who know me in here from all the prior inquiries. Maybe God will see fit to make this happen for us this time around.
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Hot Springs Village, Ark
459 posts, read 1,030,773 times
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I cannot help you with schools as we have no children and are currently retired. We live on the east end of HSV and go to Benton/Bryant area frequently for shopping and dining since we can get to Benton quicker than we can get to the south or west side of Hot Springs, downtown area does nothing for us.

Benton/Bryant is growing, there are ample shopping and dining choices and like you say, I-30 is at your front door. Benton has it's own hospital, Saline Memorial, and I have heard good things about it from people in HSV that have been there. Plus Arkansas Heart Hospital has opened a new location in Benton. https://www.arheart.com/location/benton-clinic/

Hope that helps.
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,651 posts, read 5,224,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btoverdrive View Post
I cannot help you with schools as we have no children and are currently retired. We live on the east end of HSV and go to Benton/Bryant area frequently for shopping and dining since we can get to Benton quicker than we can get to the south or west side of Hot Springs, downtown area does nothing for us.

Benton/Bryant is growing, there are ample shopping and dining choices and like you say, I-30 is at your front door. Benton has it's own hospital, Saline Memorial, and I have heard good things about it from people in HSV that have been there. Plus Arkansas Heart Hospital has opened a new location in Benton. https://www.arheart.com/location/benton-clinic/

Hope that helps.
Thanks, bt. That does help. Is that a pretty drive from the Village to Benton?
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:39 AM
sub
 
Location: Up North
2,722 posts, read 1,179,294 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyryztoll View Post
Hi, we're currently living in Minnesota but have lived in the south previously and have wanted to move to Arkansas for 5 years now. We know all about Northwest Arkansas and I interviewed there back in 2016 and 2017, but I also keep hearing great things about the Benton and Saline County region down by Little Rock and wanted to get some opinions on that area as we are once again considering relocating. We need schools with ample special needs programs/experience as we have 2 autistic kids and another who is handicapped. We love the proximity to both Little Rock and Hot Springs Benton provides....and since our handicapped child also receives specialty care form a hospital in Dallas, TX we like the ability to jump right on 30 for a straight shot there and back when necessary. Aside from that we simply want to settle in a nice up and coming community we can grow with. We could move back to TX, but we love the greenery and hills in Arkansas and that is where we've wanted to be ever since our first trip to Hot Springs. Minnesota has been good to us, but we hate the winters and the radical liberal political atmosphere here, not to mention this place is becoming more and more dangerous as we've all witnessed recently. Anyway, look forward to any advice and/or opinions with all apologies to those who know me in here from all the prior inquiries. Maybe God will see fit to make this happen for us this time around.
Don't know about the schools either.
Benton and Bryant have been growing fairly rapidly over the last 20 years so people can't be avoiding the schools.
A ton of retail has gone in during that time.
Most of Little Rock's suburbs were formally small towns that find themselves in the position of being suburbs. Not saying it's good, bad, or otherwise, just that LR will feel a bit different than the Twin Cities in that regard.
Little Rock is basically the health care hub of Arkansas, and it's pretty good for that.

It's obviously warmer than MN, you get a check-mark there.

Generally speaking, AR is going to be a good bit more conservative especially compared to Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth.
Pulaski County, where Little Rock is located, is about as liberal as it gets in Arkansas and it is liberal, although the liberalism carries a different tone I feel like.
Arkansas has traditionally been a rural/small-town state in population so Little Rock doesn't get to overwhelm the rest of the state politically. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like that's probably one of the issues in Minnesota.
Saline County is one of those places people move to in order to get away from the problems of LR.
It's an easier commute to anywhere in the city than a town like Conway since there are no river bridges to cross. Those can be annoying if there's a wreck because access to LR is more limited. You can't just take side streets to get around it.

As for safety, well, first keep in mind I kind of like Little Rock and it's really the only place in Arkansas I would live in again so this isn't a bash Little Rock moment.
Truth be told, LR has a much higher crime rate than Minneapolis.
Benton and St. Paul have very similar crime rates if that tells you anything, and Benton is considered pretty decent in Arkansas.
For perspective, those are on par with likes of Fayetteville and Springdale when it comes to crime but none of the above aren't as low-crime as Bentonville or Bella Vista, two of the safer communities in the state.
You might be aware that Minnesota consistently ranks in the top 10 for any type of crime stats that you'll come across, while Arkansas will be in the bottom 10. They are two very different places.
Personally, that's not something that would deter me if I wanted to move to Arkansas bad enough.
The crime isn't always isolated to the Delta and the big cities, but it isn't terribly difficult to avoid either.

That drive down to Dallas on I-30 isn't my fave, but at least it is a straight shot.
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Hot Springs Village, Ark
459 posts, read 1,030,773 times
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Originally Posted by Tyryztoll View Post
Thanks, bt. That does help. Is that a pretty drive from the Village to Benton?
Yes, highway 5 is 18 miles from the east gate to I-30 and is a beautiful drive, especially in the fall. The only issue, if you want to call it that, is getting behind someone that refuses to drive the speed limit . There are only 3 passing opportunities if no one is coming opposite so we just sit back and enjoy the scenery. I am in no hurry anymore .
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
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Thanks for the contribution, sub. Like Dallas/Ft. Worth where we lived previously, the Twin Cities metro has more people than the entire state of Arkansas, so anywhere we land down there is going to be a drastic change for us, but one we would definitely welcome.

Funny how you have the city of Benton, then you have BentonVILLE, which is in Benton COUNTY. I'll have to look up the "Benton" origin for down there.
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,651 posts, read 5,224,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btoverdrive View Post
Yes, highway 5 is 18 miles from the east gate to I-30 and is a beautiful drive, especially in the fall. The only issue, if you want to call it that, is getting behind someone that refuses to drive the speed limit . There are only 3 passing opportunities if no one is coming opposite so we just sit back and enjoy the scenery. I am in no hurry anymore .
Wow, that sounds nice. If we settled in the Benton vicinity we'd eventually want to be out a little bit toward Hot Springs just for that reason while still being in the Benton school district. I see the district boundaries extend out to cover parts of hwys. 5 and 70 in that direction.
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Old 06-05-2020, 09:25 PM
 
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I lived in the Benton/Bryant area and my experiences were not that positive. I just didn't like the culture here. It didn't feel very welcoming to people who were not born and raised in that area. It is VERY redneckish. If you are not a Hogs fan or big into hunting and riding 4 wheelers then they think you are a weirdo. It's also an awful area if you want to rent an apartment. Choices are very limited.

Also, you don't only have heat here. You have thick oppressive humidity. It just now started and we will have miserable weather all the way to the end of October sometimes. Maybe 3-4 weeks a year of nice 70 degree temps. Also, even though it's a straight shot to Dallas, you're looking at least a 5 hour very boring drive with nothing to see but trees.
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Old 06-05-2020, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,651 posts, read 5,224,149 times
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Originally Posted by jeffbase40 View Post
I lived in the Benton/Bryant area and my experiences were not that positive. I just didn't like the culture here. It didn't feel very welcoming to people who were not born and raised in that area. It is VERY redneckish. If you are not a Hogs fan or big into hunting and riding 4 wheelers then they think you are a weirdo. It's also an awful area if you want to rent an apartment. Choices are very limited.

Also, you don't only have heat here. You have thick oppressive humidity. It just now started and we will have miserable weather all the way to the end of October sometimes. Maybe 3-4 weeks a year of nice 70 degree temps. Also, even though it's a straight shot to Dallas, you're looking at least a 5 hour very boring drive with nothing to see but trees.
Thanks, Jeff. You want to see hunters and 4 wheelers come on up here to where I live in MN. You get outside of the Twin Cities and that's all you see.....except in winter, then it's snowmobiles instead of 4 wheelers for the most part. I don't do any of that stuff, but it doesn't bother me. I spent 30 years between Houston, Dallas and Atlanta previously so am no stranger to humidity, either. I'll take humidity over breaking my back dealing with snow removal and seeing ice form inside my windows when it's 20 below. Also been a big Hogs fan for a while, too, going back to our Texas days. We're a family of 6, so no apartments for us. We'd probably rent a home for a year and then buy. The drive to Dallas doesn't bother us because the hospital our daughter has there is totally worth it. We'd consider going back there but I really don't want to pay 5 or 6K a year in property tax with a house or deal with all those toll roads. They have no state income tax but they get their $$ through other methods like those. We really want to try a smaller metro this time and be in a more scenic landscape. NWA has always been our first choice if we ever do get to move down there, but just exploring all options at this point. We've already tried to move to AR a couple times and couldn't because of the low wages but they've increased with at least a few companies in my profession (health care) recently so we're considering whether it might be a good time to give this another shot.
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:26 AM
sub
 
Location: Up North
2,722 posts, read 1,179,294 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyryztoll View Post
Thanks, Jeff. You want to see hunters and 4 wheelers come on up here to where I live in MN. You get outside of the Twin Cities and that's all you see.....except in winter, then it's snowmobiles instead of 4 wheelers for the most part. I don't do any of that stuff, but it doesn't bother me. I spent 30 years between Houston, Dallas and Atlanta previously so am no stranger to humidity, either. I'll take humidity over breaking my back dealing with snow removal and seeing ice form inside my windows when it's 20 below. Also been a big Hogs fan for a while, too, going back to our Texas days. We're a family of 6, so no apartments for us. We'd probably rent a home for a year and then buy. The drive to Dallas doesn't bother us because the hospital our daughter has there is totally worth it. We'd consider going back there but I really don't want to pay 5 or 6K a year in property tax with a house or deal with all those toll roads. They have no state income tax but they get their $$ through other methods like those. We really want to try a smaller metro this time and be in a more scenic landscape. NWA has always been our first choice if we ever do get to move down there, but just exploring all options at this point. We've already tried to move to AR a couple times and couldn't because of the low wages but they've increased with at least a few companies in my profession (health care) recently so we're considering whether it might be a good time to give this another shot.
I'm not saying one's better than the other, but there aren't too many comparisons to be made between MN and AR beyond 4-wheelers and hunting. They're just totally different. Of course some people make that move and do just fine, I'm only talking direct comparisons here.
You've crossed two hurdles of living in Arkansas: you can deal with that kind of heat and you like the Razorbacks. I'm from Arkansas and don't miss either one. However, it was the low wages that ultimately pushed me out.

If you're in healthcare, near Little Rock is the best place to be in AR, not that you couldn't do well elsewhere.
Without going into detail, I can relate to jeffbase's issues. Benton/Bryant is not my favorite part of the Little Rock area.
Were it not for public schools, the options would be better. Little Rock itself can be much nicer, but then anyone who can afford to send their kids to private schools generally do so. The other downside is that the city can be a bit dysfunctional.
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