Teff is the newest ancient grain on the block and I had been dying to try it. Problem was, it was so new I couldn’t find it anywhere! Teff is a grass seed grain and is considered the smallest grain in the world. It’s a deep brown color and you can fit millions of them in one handful. The healthy, trendy elite Gwyneth and Posh Spice are big fans.
I’m really excited to live in a place that’s focused on growth, redevelopment, and making our town a better place to live. I came to Arkansas and Conway for college, left for a three year stint in Northwest Arkansas, but came back as soon as I could to Conway. Why? Because it really is a place of opportunity.
Last week, I met with Jamie Gates and Adena White at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce to talk about Central Landing. If you haven’t heard about Central Landing yet, you’re pretty much living under a rock. Even I heard about it while I have my head down building my business. Slated to go into the old airport once the relocate to new facilities, Central Landing is planning to be a premier lifestyle development in Conway.
But what the heck does that mean? And what does that mean for Conway?
The Goods on Conway’s Central Landing Plans
Lifestyle developments are mixed-use developments that focus on providing what people need to live—retail space, restaurants, and residential space. The Hendrix Village is the closest example we have to that in Conway, where homes, apartments, shops, and restaurants are all next to each other.
What you’ve probably heard the most about is the plans to put in a shopping center in Central Landing with rumors of stores like Dillard’s and restaurants like Five Guys. What you might not know is that it’s much more than that.
On top of the retail space, Central Landing plans to be a hub for visitors and residents with the possibility of single and multi-family homes and a future elementary school. We’re growing and need to redevelop spaces as well as plan for future growth, including educating Conway’s kids! But there’s even more to this plan.
Central Landing is an integral part to a three fold plan for Conway that will benefit all residents with traffic alleviation.
Roads, Revenue, and Retail
On September 9, there is a bond initiative to continue the existing 1/8 cent sales tax that goes to roadway development that will build access roads to Central Landing as well as a flyover bridge to the Target shopping complex on the other side of the highway. It’s part of a much larger plan to alleviate traffic on Oak Street and make Conway a much easier town to navigate.
Our biggest traffic problems are getting to the highway easily, alleviating traffic on the highway from folks stacking up during high traffic times, and that traffic then grid-locking the rest of the main thoroughfares in town, Oak Street in particular.
- Improve and increase the capacity of connections to the southern highway interchange 3 miles south of Dave Ward
- Access roads to Central Landing
- A flyover bridge from Central Landing to Target so foks can easily access shopping without using Oak Street
- Make Siebenmorgan 4-lane and build a new bridge
- Changing Oak to use more roundabouts and fewer signals
The alternative is expanding Oak to six lanes to accommodate new traffic patterns for Central Landing. I’m sure you can figure out why that would be a bad idea.
The last two are projects they’re hoping for in the future and have spoken with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department about taking on in the future. Without the 1/8 cent vote in September, these likely won’t happen and we’ll be stuck.
As part of the bond initiative, the funds will go to building access from Oak Street directly off the highway into Central Landing, alter Bruce Street to feed into Central Landing, and expand 6th Street to accommodate traffic off Dave Ward into Central Landing. The bond will also pay for the continuing southern interchange work south of Dave Ward.
Without Central Landing and the flyover bridge, the plans for traffic in Conway won’t work as well and Oak Street will continue to become clogged. As Conway grows, it’ll only get worse if we don’t do this now.
The Chamber is still crunching the numbers but some studies estimate that Faulkner County could be “leaking” as much as $100M in retail sales to Pulaski County. After working in a local government for a few years, I can assure you that keeping the money in Conway will make a huge difference in how our town functions.
On top of all that, the retail space makes Conway an even more attractive stop along the road through Arkansas. The plans include two hotels in Central Landing, making the area even more of a destination for visitors to stop at and the area surrounding Conway. Lewis Crossing, a second development slated for Conway, as well as Baptist Health, will only continue to help Conway grow. With three major developments going in all at the same time, it’s going to be a lot of work but well worth it.
What You Can Do to Help Conway Grow
The Conway Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event on August 5 at 6:30 p.m. between the two developers of Central Landing and Lewis Crossing for the public to come and ask questions about the developments and their plans.
What’s more important, however, is that you put a reminder on your calendar to go vote on September 9 (and register to vote before August 9 if you aren’t registered). Can’t make it that day? Early voting starts September 2 so you have plenty of chances to make it to the polls.
Help get the word out and bring growth to Conway by sharing this post on Facebook or tweeting to friends:
We took a trip to Collins Round Mountain Orchard in Conway, Arkansas, just a few minutes south of town. In fact, it’s actually in Conway and might not be around for much longer! The land has been sold to a developer and is in prime subdivision territory. If you want to pick peaches, nectarines, blackberries, and lots of other produce in your own backyard, now is the time to do it.
If you haven’t yet heard of Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS, you’re living under a rock. If you have and are wondering if you should pick up the newest female-empowerment business book, you’re probably a lot like me. Book reviews of #GIRLBOSS are generally pretty positive. But, as with lots of hyped things, can you really trust those #GIRLBOSS reviews? Should you too start worshipping at the temple of Sophia Amoruso?