Five Northwest Arkansas stories to watch in 2023
The start of a new year is a good time to reflect and goal-set for the future.
- Here are five trends and narratives we'll be watching as 2023 unfolds:
ICYMI, the cost of living in NWA has rapidly increased, with the median price of single-family homes growing faster than any other community in the country. The issue has caught the attention of local government and nonprofit organizations.
- We'll be interested to see what initiatives, such as the city of Bentonville's Housing Affordability Workgroup or the Northwest Arkansas Council's workforce housing center, come up with as possible solutions to make housing more attainable in NWA.
Taxes and teachers and saving time, oh my!
The Arkansas State Legislature's 94th General Assembly convenes Jan. 9 — one day before Sarah Huckabee Sanders is inaugurated as the state's first woman governor.
- There are 44 House bills already up for consideration, with topics ranging from adopting daylight saving time permanently to requiring Medicaid to cover postpartum mothers for one year after giving birth.
- Sanders has said education is a top priority for her.
Work hard, party harder
The region's arts and culture scene has bounced back since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and we're eager to see which concerts, festivals and art exhibitions come to town this year. The inaugural FORMAT Festival, a three-day music, arts and technology event, took place in Bentonville in 2021. A second festival hasn't been announced, but we're on the lookout.
Arkansas: Home of the Jetsons
The governor-appointed Arkansas Council on Future Mobility delivered its final report in December. It's now up to state lawmakers, entrepreneurs and investors to pave the way for new opportunities related to transportation and logistics.
- Meanwhile, Walmart continues to use NWA as a testing ground for drone deliveries and autonomous trucks in last-mile deliveries.
Keep the network working
As NWA continues to grow, building infrastructure, especially roads capable of handling more traffic, will be vital.
But "infrastructure" means more than easing traffic. Across the state, providing increased broadband access to rural areas, building electric-vehicle charging stations along interstates and tackling overdue water projects will likely be priorities in NWA and across the state this year.
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