has written 1 SperlingViews. Currently, Larry is living in Fort Smith, AR and has a little something to say:
|Location:||Fort Smith, AR|
|Email:||Contact Larry via email|
Fort Smith Posted On: 8/26/2011 9:44:13 AM
Fort Smith’s pluses are low crime, low cost of living, and mild winters. The person who said we have “cold winters” must be from southern Florida. Compare the average Fort Smith winter to one in Minnesota and you’ll see what a cold winter truly is.
That said, the downsides outweigh the benefits. This is a very Republican and religiously conservative area. If you don’t fit into that mold, you might not feel like you fit in. This is the South. “Good ol’ boy-ism” is still fairly strong, and it might turn up in places that would surprise and annoy you.
Chain stores (Walmart is everywhere!) and chain restaurants dominate, and aside from the mom & pop Asian and Tex-Mex places, the local restaurants are really mediocre. Central Mall, the shopping area that everyone abandoned a formerly thriving downtown for in the early 70s, is clean but doesn’t seem very busy, nor does it have much to offer. Your bookstore options are limited, and I hope you like buying your music from Walmart, Target, or Best Buy. The cool places with a vibe closed long ago.
The culture is very monotone. There are a few stabs at the creative arts, but it seems like most bands and festivals are for country, blues, or contemporary Christian. There’s a small theater group that puts on plays several times a year, and it seems to have decent community support. Museums are limited to frontier history, though there is an art center I haven’t visited lately that exhibits paintings by local and regional artists.
Public transit is a joke. I checked to see if I could get to work (which is five miles from home), and it would have taken over an hour by bus. The routes are few and very limited. Amtrak doesn’t come here, which is disappointing, if predictable. The airport is nice with word-class bathroom facilities (some award was given, see Wikipedia), but it’s also not entirely adequate (Dallas and Memphis are the only cities it supports). Finally, there’s a grubby Jefferson Lines bus terminal downtown. Enjoy that.
Summers are freakishy hot. This summer, we’ve seen triple digit days with little or no rain for weeks on end. Springs can be wildly stormy at times, but autumns are nice.
If you’re a conservative Christian with a young family, this would be a great place for you, provided you can get work. If you’re Republican and Jesus-centered, then you really need to think hard on whether moving here is best for you. If you like the idea of Arkansas but want something more cosmopolitan (which wouldn’t be difficult), you might check Fayetteville. It actually feels like a real small city, has a nice downtown, a lot of culture, and a lot of good, local restaurants.