Written by Arkansas Real Estate
This week we were able to chat with Gary Comiskey, Director of Economic Development and Membership for the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce. Gary joined the Siloam Chamber this past fall, and has already hit the ground running. We are very excited to hear about what is happening in that corner of Northwest Arkansas.
Thank you, Gary, for taking time to chat with us this week!
What type of growth has Siloam Springs seen this past year and what can we expect to see in 2012?
While the economy has certainly affected our community, Siloam Springs has continued a slow but steady growth trend over the last few years. We are seeing positive signs of recovery within our community and expect 2012 numbers to be up; at least two industries have indicated they will be making announcements of modest expansions within the next month.
Would you attribute most growth to large industry or small business openings this year?
Our large industries have taken some big hits the last few years but have remained stable across the board. We are seeing an uptick in our small business openings which is a very positive sign for the future. With expected growth by some of our large industries this year, recent visits to 20 of our largest employers revealed that expectations are positive for our local economy.
How has the city's infrastructure kept up with the growth?
We are very fortunate to have aggressive City leadership. We have seen upgrades in our water treatment facility and are in the process of building a new Electric transfer station, North of town, that will allow for substantial residential and industrial growth. Our main highway access thru town is in the middle of a transformation from a 4 lane highway to a 6 lane. Phase 1 is expected to be completed this year. The City has developed a large former agricultural area in the Northeast quadrant, with two new streets that are now home to a new high school and new hospital, with more medical facilities planned in the vicinity.
How does Siloam Springs rank in comparison to other city's of its size/structure?
We are proud to be a part of the NWA MSA and the accolades that come with that, such as being the 10th least expensive area in the country. We do not have any rankings that compare us to cities our size, but Siloam Springs is exceptional in that the City owns the electrical system, which generates good revenue for city services. We are very proud of our community and are excited to see what 2012 has in store for us.