Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

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

Thursday, May 27, 2010

NW Arkansas is Getting Greener Every Day and Not Just Because It’s Spring

Mother Nature endowed the Ozarks with mountains, millions of green trees, lakes and rivers everywhere. This beauty and diversity calls people outdoors to enjoy it. It is heartening to know governments, corporations and individuals are working to preserve it all for generations to come.

You can walk, hike, mountain bike, or jog at your own pace on hundreds of miles of trails throughout NW Arkansas, many of which interconnect. Springdale has been a bit slower than other cities in building new trails, but now has plans under consideration to repair an old dam and reopen an existing trail around a lake. Additionally they may convert an empty building in the downtown area into a staging area connecting trails.

Green is more than just a buzzword in these parts. As everyone knows, NW Arkansas is the home of Walmart, one of the leaders in the sustainability movement here and throughout the country. Walmart’s membership-club arm, Sam’s Club, is a great illustration of green possibilities. The Fayetteville store showcases numerous environmentally sustainable features such as wastewater recycling, motion-sensor lighting, harvesting rain water for landscape plants, and more than 200 sky lights.

In 2007, Walmart Foundation gave a $1.5 million grant to fund The Applied Sustainability Center, based at the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business. According to the Center’s web site, they have developed a broad-based coalition of partners to advance efforts in building and supporting an economy built around people, planet and profit.

The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce introduced a new program named the GreeNWAy Initiative to certify businesses that are going green. The GreeNWAy committee partnered with the City of Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), and the University of Arkansas Applied Sustainability Center to develop the certification process.

Some time back, many separate organizations joined together to form Green Valley Development in NW Arkansas. The idea is to bring together sustainability innovators, businesses, and technologies to coordinate resources and services for green companies to excel in the world market. Charter members include Walmart, several construction companies, banks, real estate companies, retailers, electric cooperatives and more.

What I’m trying to say is…

The continuing greening of NW Arkansas and adoption of sustainable policies is alive and well. It’s one of those things that make Fayetteville and NW Arkansas regular visitors to national “best places” (to live, retire, raise children, etc.) lists. And the green is one of those things that contribute to our high quality of life here.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Bentonville Schools Millage Increase Passes with Ease

No one likes higher taxes, but sometimes they are necessary to provide for important things—things like a good education for our kids. And in the case of NW Arkansas, sometimes those higher taxes also contribute to the high quality of life for which our area keeps getting kudos and recommendations from a variety of sources nationwide.

On this occasion, I want to commend the voters in Bentonville School District for passing a 3.6 mil increase in property taxes. The increase will provide $70 million for a new K-6 elementary school and junior high school as well as funds for maintenance throughout the district. The voter turnout was high and the increase passed with approval of about 60% of voters.

It is not easy to have proposals to raise taxes pass voter muster in this difficult economy. Fayetteville School District saw the proof of that last year when their millage increase proposal was defeated.

But a look at the bigger picture confirms that the continued growth of our area (and our state) depends on having an educated base of employees. A good education and promotion of schools is essential to development of the area and contributes to quality of life of its citizens.

Good schools also add value to real estate. Two identical houses, one in a highly rated school district and the other in a lower rated district, will have different values due to those ratings.

Springdale School District is seriously considering asking voters to approve a 1.9 mil increase this year to build new schools and improve athletic facilities. If that proposal passes, the district will qualify for $15 million from the Arkansas Department of Education’s Facilities Partnership Program.

And last but not least, Fayetteville has totally revamped its priorities and hopes to get a millage increase passed this year. If so, the district could also receive funds from the state’s Facilities Partnership Program.

Bentonville voters have set the new standard. Their vote denotes a populace that recognizes the importance of education. They “get it.”