Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Monday, April 19, 2010

Is NW Arkansas unprepared for this or what? RRP—what it is and why you need to know.

It seems like there are always some “hot-button” issues that realtors, landlords and others related to housing and real estate must deal with. Radon, asbestos, sexual offenders, and mold come to mind as issues from the recent past. And in some areas of Arkansas we can add meth houses.

Now lead-based paint is back on the front burner all over the country in the form of a new federal law.

Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP), is a new federally mandated program to deal with the issue of lead paint in homes, primarily those homes built prior to 1978. The program takes effect April 22, 2010 (that’s this Thursday for those who are paying attention).

It’s important that general contractors, real estate agents, plumbers, remodelers, handy-men, painters, property owners, carpenters, electricians, and all others who work in home repair or maintenance be aware of the rules and the requirements for compliance. Failure to do so can result in a fine of $37,500 per day, per violation! Heavy duty stuff.

The issue is “disturbing” lead-based paint which was commonly used in the past. Homes built after 1978 (when the federal law against the use of lead-based paint went into effect) do not have lead-based paint, and even many homes built after 1950 may not have it, since that’s when some paint makers voluntarily quit making it.

What constitutes disturbing lead-based paint? Sanding it or scraping it off, for example, on an interior wall area more than 6 feet square or an exterior area more than 20 feet square. Also such activities as replacing windows.

The main problem appears to be lead dust which can be ingested or airbourne. The issue is to limit the exposure of humans, especially children, to lead-based paint hazards. Thus buildings potentially inhabited by children in addition to homes and apartments, such as day care centers and schools, are covered by the new law.

The bottom line is that renovations of such buildings must be done by a certified renovator and supervised by someone who has taken an approved training course. There are certain techniques and practices for such renovations, which must be followed. Compliance in many cases will be difficult and in many cases, costly. In some cases, there may not be an issue if a certified inspector finds that there is no lead-based paint in the building or home.

However as of now, there are only 4 approved lead paint contractors on the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality—ADEQ--list in the whole state of Arkansas. There are lots of contractors approved to deal with asbestos, but not lead-based paint. And none of the approved lead paint contractors is in NW Arkansas.

But there’s lots of information out there, and there are some opportunities. For contractors who remodel older homes, getting approved and licensed may mean a foot in the door and more work before competitora also get approved. For landlords with older buildings which are lead-free, this may become a marketing advantage.

There are also responsibilities for realtors and property management companies. Both would be advised to recommend to their repair personnel that they become certified.

This blog post doesn’t begin to address all of the issues, but does hope to draw the attention of those who may be in the process of purchasing an older home or about to do so to the new law and the issues surrounding it.

There are a number of websites for information--just click on the following links:

State of Arkansas ADEQ list of approved contractors

National Association of Realtors Video FAQs and other information

HUD lead paint disclosure requirements

EPA printable brochure about the new law

EPA requirements and information about the new law

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NW Arkansas Naturals season starts and Crystal Bridges exhibition opens

The opening game for the NW Arkansas Naturals was last week on April 8 at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, and then there were games on subsequent nights as well. The first couple of games didn't go too well--in the one on Friday they lost to the San Antonio Missions by a score of 13-1 as almost 5000 fans watched, speechless.

But on Saturday they came back and beat the Missions by a score of 4-3.

Whether the Naturals win or lose is not the important thing. Having a baseball team like the Naturals here in NW Arkansas is wonderful for the region and a sign of positive growth. As our collection of small towns expands and more people move to the area, the idea of a variety of activities for residents to enjoy becomes more important. In the absence of a professional team for football, basketball and other sports, the U of A Razorbacks garner an almost-fanatical following. But the Naturals, now only 3 years old, are also making their place here.

Similarly in other disciplines. Soon the new Crystal Bridges art museum will be opening in Bentonville, but there have already been exhibitions at what is called Crystal Bridges at the Massey. The most recent was a juried exhibit of local photographers which opened April 2. With more than 100 entrants from 12-year-old amateurs to seasoned professionals, Crystal Bridges showed that it too will be a centerpiece of NW Arkansas culture. The photographers were asked to capture the changing landscape in Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties.

Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas have garnered recognition on many "best places" to live, retire, raise a family, start a business--you name it--and with good reason. Our quality of life is enhanced by places like Crystal Bridges and the Walton Arts Center, not to mention the U of A as artistic and intellectual venues, or even places like Georges on Dickson St. as popular music venues. And the NW Arkansas Naturals complement the Razorbacks as a sports destination for many Northwest Arkansas residents.

NW Arkansas IS a great place to live!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

University of Arkansas Has Huge Impact on NW Arkansas

The University of Arkansas’ flagship campus is located in Fayetteville, right where it’s been since it was founded in 1871. The university offers more than 200 graduate and post-graduate programs and its research, development, and outreach aids local public and private sectors.

None of that is news to most folks but I wonder how many of us ever stop to think about the overall economic impact the university has in NW Arkansas…

$725.4 million for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009 was the amount concluded by an exhaustive study recently produced for the Office of the Chancellor. The study looked at direct expenditures by the university as well as spending and taxes paid by faculty, staff, students and visitors.

A few examples include payroll of $246 million, direct expenditures to NW Arkansas businesses by the university of $56.9 million, student expenditures of $173.7 plus visitors added an additional $127.5 million to the local economy.

Not only are those numbers huge, they must be extrapolated many times over to take trickle-down factors into consideration. Most of that payroll is spent locally. Homes and vehicles are purchased, state and local taxes paid, children of faculty and staff are enrolled in schools, contributions made to local churches and charities, restaurants, medical professionals, gas stations, clothing stores – the list is endless.

If University of Arkansas were not here, this area would have an entirely different landscape.

Go Hogs!

Read the entire 106-page report: