Greenwood’s population increased from 8,952 to 9,516 between April 1, 2010 and April 1, 2020.
Source: United States Census Bureau
GREENWOOD — Sebastian County’s second-largest city can expect to continue growing in the coming years, according to its mayor.
Mayor Doug Kinslow discussed the past and future growth of his State of the City address during Monday’s city council meeting.
Kinslow said that with many developments taking shape in the river valley, the city must recognize, accept and control its growth as best it can in a way that honors its heritage and paves the way for future opportunities. .
These developments include the Air Force’s selection of Ebbing Air National Guard Base at Fort Smith as the preferred location for a permanent pilot training center for Singapore and other countries participating in the sales program. overseas military personnel, as well as administrators of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority approving the sale of 20 acres. and four buildings to Los Angeles-based TGE Global Entertainment to develop a $30 million film production studio in the Chaffee Crossing area of Fort Smith. Both took place last year.
Kinslow expressed his belief that the Greenwood community is at a “crossroads of growth and development”.
“It’s critical that we take steps to prepare for this growth and think outside the box, working alongside developers and entrepreneurs, doing all we can to provide them with support and encouragement,” Kinslow said. “Growth creates more opportunities for our citizens and more investment in our community which leads to more choice, which means people won’t have to leave town to eat or shop, which ends up by keeping more local revenue. We have to be proactive and prepare. “
The city issued 77 building permits for single-family, multi-family and commercial construction projects in 2021, including a Waffle House and several other new businesses, according to Kinslow. These were valued at over $5 million.
Going forward, Kinslow said the city’s Economic and Community Development Committee and Chamber of Commerce are working with real estate agents to identify commercial properties available to potential developers. The committee is also working with the city council to develop a plan for annexation.
Sonny Bell, committee member and director of planning for Greenwood, said those involved in the annexation plan are in the process of identifying areas to be incorporated into the town, lending them for residential and commercial development. The plan would also serve to give the city a more square shape. Bell likened the current shape of the city to a “sideways lying hourglass“.
Arkansas’ Bureau of Geographic Information Systems and Sebastian County, as well as voters in a future election, will need to approve the annexation plan before it can be implemented, Bell said. .
Kinslow cited the Curve and the East Village as examples of Greenwood’s continued expansion this year.
Bell described the Curve as a commercial venture with a number of companies, although construction has yet to begin. It is located at the northwest corner of Arkansas 10 Spur and US 71 out of town to the west.
“There were requests across the county to enter the city limits under annexation,” Bell said. “And then once that’s done, we’ll look at the infrastructure needed for that area and move forward from there.”
The East Village, as its name suggests, is a subdivision of the eastern part of the city on Arkansas 10, according to Bell. It will have different types of residences, as well as features such as green spaces and walking paths. The groundbreaking for the project took place earlier this year and it will have 251 homes when completed.
On a related note, Kinslow said the city will complete a watermain project this year to service future growth along Arkansas 10 in east Greenwood.
“One thing I’ve learned is that when we build infrastructure, projects follow, which over time not only provide new amenities for our citizens, but increase revenue for our city,” Kinslow said. .
This project is currently in the bidding process, according to Bell.
However, Greenwood’s growth will not be limited to homes, businesses and city infrastructure projects. Kinslow said the Greenwood School District plans to build a third elementary school, a project funded by current district funding at no additional cost to residents.
School District Superintendent John Ciesla confirmed that the district is in the early stages of building a K-4 school. It will be on 12 acres that the district bought from Chaffee Crossing for $300,000 about two months ago.
Ciesla said the facility will help accommodate an increase in enrollment the school district has seen recently, particularly over the past two years, and prepare for the future. The school district has increased by about 160 students between last year and now.
Ciesla largely attributed the increase in enrollment to the growth of Greenwood and Chaffee Crossing. The new facility will also make it easier for parents in the Chaffee Crossing district to get their children to school.
The district intends to pay for the project without having to ask voters for an increase in its mileage rate of 40.6 mills, Ciesla said. He submitted a request for state money in February.
Other developments Kinslow discussed on Monday included a traffic bypass project that is being planned in conjunction with the Arkansas Department of Transportation, a completed new master plan for the city’s Bell Park that includes a new wading pool and additional amenities and an ongoing ordinance to increase food trucks “responsibly and fairly.”