Imagine you could get money back on maintaining, improving or rehabbing your home or business. Do you pay Federal and State income taxes? If you own or purchase an historic property, it may be eligible for Historic Tax Credits through the National Park Service and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, which can be used to offset taxes owed, dollar for dollar, to the federal government and the state of Arkansas.
Like most places in America, the urban avenues of Arkansas comprise the vast majority of our public space. The presence or absence of bike lanes, street trees, sidewalks, parking, as well as nuances in building size, location, use and design can teach you almost everything you need to know about what is most important to decision makers, but what do these characteristics teach us about the values of people who live in these communities? The extent to which a community’s values are expressed in the design of its public spaces is perhaps one of the best measures of success in urban planning.
Communities across Arkansas are discovering place building as an effective strategy for urban renewal, business attraction and workforce retention. Once thought of as community window-dressing emphasizing the nice over the necessary, place building's emphasis on quality of life and community amenities is an increasingly valuable chip in the high-stakes drive for economic growth.
Those of us who work in the travel industry not only need to work to engage and attract visitors, but we also need to be concurrently active in helping our community develop the products and experiences necessary to cultivate great places. Communicating the value of tourism and the importance of place to our political and private sector leaders is often necessary, as their decisions affect a city’s competitive position in Arkansas’s billion-dollar tourism industry. Our work directly correlates to local jobs and increased tax revenue. Simply put, cultivating great places for tourists and citizens is economic development.
To understand why cities like Little Rock pursue corporate headquarters like Amazon, look no further than Bentonville and El Dorado. Walmart in Bentonville and Murphy Oil Co. in El Dorado aren’t new to those cities—on the contrary, both are homegrown—but these companies are still very much in the process of physically redesigning the towns.
In the early days of the Fayetteville Roots Festival, Bryan Hembree just wanted something that fit Fayetteville, and roots-style music sounded right. As it turns out, that concept was bigger than any one stage, and he learned that hours before the first event. A pipe burst just before show time at the intended location, and he and co-creators Bernice Hembree and Jerrmy Gawthrop scrambled to move the bands they had booked to a different venue.