Fayetteville races ahead of Fort Smith in population, moving on to become the second-largest city in the state and bumping Fort Smith down to number three.
Fayetteville’s growth rate sits at a whopping 28%, while Fort Smith’s is at 3%, said Alison Wright, the head of the data center at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute.
Despite this, Fort Smith officials are not concerned.
Fort Smith Mayor George McGill said he is more concerned about the quality of life in the area than whether the city drops to its number three position.
The industry in the Fayetteville area also leads to its growth in population. Giants like Tyson, Walmart and J.B. Hunt feed the community’s population, said Michael Pakko, the chief economist at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute.
But Fort Smith’s economy has traditionally relied on manufacturing, which has suffered throughout the nation. The manufacturing field has not led to employment growth like what has been seen with corporations in Northwest Arkansas.
State Rep. Justin Boyd said he was proud of the growth that Fort Smith did experience.
He said he thinks Fort Smith’s future looks bright as city officials continue to recruit more businesses to the area. As the city continues to develop its downtown, that will encourage growth as will the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
See the full article from SW Times Record here.