Arkansas Business City of Distinction 2011

Nominate Your City > Arkansas enjoys a diversity of geography and scenery - even of climate - that's fairly unique. It's a diversity not found anywhere, and it helps define our state. One might expect to find diverse cultures nestled among our mountains, prairies, forests and wetlands, and certainly, lifestyles in Arkansas can vary from Fayetteville to El Dorado and points in between. The farming families of the Delta know the land in a different way than the descendants of those who settled the hardscrabble hills and valleys of the Ouachitas and Ozarks.

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Bridge Lights, Marathon Show Off Little Rock in New Ways (Winner in Tourism Development | Over 20,000)

Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas and the state's largest city, continues to build upon its tremendous success of attracting tourists by creating new and novel attractions. While landmarks like the Clinton Presidential Center and the River Market still welcome thousands of visitors each year, two new projects have given residents and non-residents alike opportunities to see the city like they've never looked at it before. read more >

Rogers Aquatics Center Makes Big Splash (Winner in Tourism Development | Over 20,000)

When the city of Rogers asked its citizens to build a municipal water park on three acres of land on 26th Street, funds for special projects were drying up. Rogers voters in 2011 took the plunge and said yes to a tax-funded bond program that financed the construction of the Aquatics Center. read more >

Fayetteville Stays Hot on the Trail of Tourism (Honorable Mention, Tourism | Over 20,000)

The development of the 600-total acres into a nature preserve and sports park, with seven miles of nature trails, mountain biking trails, steep bluffs, woodlands, and native flora and fauna make Fayetteville an honorable mention honoree in the City of Distinction Tourism Development category. read more >

Hot Springs Softball Fields Hit Home Run (Honorable Mention, Tourism | Over 20,000)

Constructed in 1978, Kimery Park was plagued by heavy use — Hot Springs has the second-largest city softball program in the state — and a rock substructure and lack of drainage that all contributed to its unplayable state a year ago. read more >

Visitors Slide Into New White Hall Attractions (Winner in Tourism Development | Between 5,000-20,000)

White Hall's shiny new water park has its name rooted in the past, but the facility is going to have a decisive impact on the city's future. read more >

Arts Council Brings Coveted Tourists to City (Winner in Tourism Development | Under 5,000)

Literally, tourism is the fuel that powers the local economy. Eureka Springs attracts everyone from art lovers to ghost hunters, and the city is not lacking for attractions: the infamous Crescent Hotel, the Christ of the Ozarks, the Great Passion Play, the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railroad; Thorncrown Chapel; shops, restaurants and hotels clinging to the city's famed winding streets. read more >

Springdale Connects Citizens with Citywide Wi-Fi (Winner in Technology Advancements | Over 20,000)

The city of Springdale has come up with a 21st century solution to those digital troubles, offering Wi-Fi service for free in city buildings and parks, an area that covers over 240 acres. Those hot spots scored the city a win as a 2014 City of Distinction in the Technology Advancements category for cities with a population over 20,000. read more >

Residents Get To Know Neighborhoods with My Fayetteville Services (Honorable Mention, Technology | Over 20,000) offers the opportunity to see the city in a variety of different ways within geographic information systems (GIS) that had always been available, but never in one place. Fayetteville GIS Director Greg Mitchell explained how his department had already been providing mapping services to basically any city service requiring an address. read more >

New App Provides Access to Fort Smith City Hall (Honorable Mention, Technology | Over 20,000)

Fort Smith earned an honorable mention in the 2014 City of Distinction Technology Advancements category for not just making the effort to hear what each resident had to say, but by putting the ability to communicate and gather information into the palm of his or her hand. read more >

Bull Shoals Keeps Water Savings From Getting Drained (Winner in Technology Advancements | Under 5,000)

It makes sense that if any town could figure out an accurate way of tracking its water usage while saving its customers money, it would be that place up on the bluffs in Marion County. It's what garnered Bull Shoals a win in the 2014 City of Distinction category for Technology Advancements. read more >

Body Cameras Keep Policework Public in Little Flock (Honorable Mention, Technology | Under 5,000)

The small town of Little Flock is finding that body-worn cameras used by police officers are paying off. The town's embrace of the new technology also earned an honorable mention honor in the City of Distinction Technology Advancements category. read more >

Fayetteville The Best Nest for ARK Challenge (Winner in Workforce Development | Over 20,000)

The ARK Challenge is an accelerator program for tech-based startups that was launched in Fayetteville two years ago and since has become an integral part of the state's tech and entrepreneur communities. read more >

SouthArk Programs Help El Dorado Students Get Early Start (Winner in Workforce Development | Over 20,000)

To fill local employment needs, El Dorado has been making a push to grow and educate potential employees locally. The industry-specific education effort — aimed primarily but not exclusively at high schoolers — is a combined enterprise involving El Dorado public schools, the El Dorado Education Foundation, South Arkansas Community College (SouthArk), the South Arkansas Workforce Training and Education Consortium, the South Arkansas Alliance for Advanced Manufacturing Training and the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce. read more >

Loop, Street Enhancements Benefit Russellville Commuters (Winner in Quality of Life | Over 20,000)

Over the past two years, the city of Russellville has adopted a “complete streets” program designed for all users – drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Its most important phase was the completion of a loop around Arkansas Tech University that provides better access to and from the school. read more >

Benton Voters Approve Riverside Park (Honorable Mention in Quality | Over 20,000)

When Benton voters approved a sales tax initiative in the fall of 2013, the city's big picture came into focus. More than 63 percent of voters approved a half-cent tax that funded the $36 million Riverside Park development, which will be anchored by the 87,000-SF River Center and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. read more >

Recreation in The Bag at Ward Nail Park in Lowell (Winner in Quality of Life | Between 5,000-20,000)

In 2000, Lowell offered only two small city parks that consisted of playground equipment and ball fields. It was the people of Lowell who decided through questionnaires and town hall meetings that their city deserved something better. read more >

Plant-A-Seed Program Sees Growth in Camden (Honorable Mention in Quality | Between 5,000-20,000)

Several years ago, Camden volunteer Charles Moore created the Plant-A-Seed Foundation to benefit the city's disadvantaged youth. read more >

Fairfield Bay Conference Center Rebuilt Into Community Center (Winner in Quality of Life | Under 5,000)

The centerpiece of the resort company's presentation to Fairfield Bay had been its Conference Center. This was the building where visitors would check in, enjoy the indoor swimming pool and health spa or meet inside one of its large conference rooms. It was located across the street from the town's main shopping center, a landscaped village containing the town's grocery store, post office and even a bowling alley. Condominiums were nearby. read more >

Conway's Rogers Plaza Easy on Auto & Foot Traffic (Winner in Main Street Preservation | Over 20,000)

If you're wondering what an afternoon of shopping in downtown Conway is going to look like in the year 2025, the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce can give you an idea. Knowing that its population is certain to grow and that the local infrastructure must be kept up to meet the bustling needs of its future citizens, city businesses, planners and residents have set up a list of goals to meet in a citywide plan called Conway 2025. read more >

Sidewalks Add Curb Appeal to Downtown Magnolia (Winner in Main Street Preservation | Between 5,000-20,000)

Downtown Magnolia has long been recognized as an anomaly among most other local hubs in the state of Arkansas. While the traditional town square has dried up as businesses move closer to a new bypass or the interstate, Magnolia's central shopping district continues to thrive. In 2013, the city was recognized in the City of Distinction Quality of Life category for its efforts in staging the district as the town's centerpiece. read more >

Batesville's Main Street Makes a Major Comeback (Honorable Mention in Preservation | Between 5,000-20,000)

Batesville is an idyllic American town, but as recently as early 2013, its downtown was dying on the vine. Empty storefronts, broken sidewalks, weeds and dead plants welcomed visitors. Today, Batesville is home to a revitalized and thriving downtown, and its efforts to resuscitate its center earned the city recognition as a 2014 City of Distinction for Main Street preservation. read more >

Investing in Farmers Market Puts Stock in Dumas (Winner in Main Street Preservation | Under 5,000)

The uncomplicated, do-it-yourself method of creating the Farmers' Market and letting the people who use it to do so without a list of restrictions made Dumas the winner of the 2014 City of Distinction Main Street Preservation category for cities with a population under 5,000. read more >

Bentonville Conservation Efforts Take Root (Winner in Green/Energy Conservation Initiatives | Over 20,000)

With an eye on future generations, Bentonville initiated its tree planting program in conjunction with the national Make a Difference Day promoted by USA Weekend Magazine and Points of Light. The goal was 1,026 by Oct. 26 of last year. In other words, 1,026 trees by 10/26. read more >

Maumelle Goes All-In with Recycling Program (Winner in Green/Energy Conservation Initiatives | Between 5,000-20,000)

Maumelle's most recent recycling effort is single stream recycling, which began this year and made the city a winner in the City of Distinction Green/Energy Conservation Initiatives category. In February, residents were able to begin adding junk mail, office paper, magazines, cardboard, paper or plastic milk and juice containers, steel cans, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and jugs and newspapers to the items city crews were already collecting curbside. read more >