What is this effort?
The I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector (also referred to as the Bella Vista Bypass) will help drive a vision for a commercial spine of community connectivity from the Joplin region to Bentonville and beyond– the developments, land uses, assets, community interchanges and gateways, and other elements that make up the corridor through our region connecting regional communities and driving growth and opportunity.
Why is the Missouri-Arkansas Connector important?
The Missouri-Arkansas Connector is the north-south gateway to both the Joplin and Bentonville regions and markets, and the communities, businesses, and industrial parks along the way. The corridor is the opportunity to connect the nearly 750,000 who live, work and recreate across this region. This effort aims to create a plan for attracting new investment and development, improving the quality of life for residents and businesses, and improving the character of the corridor. We can build upon the improvements along the corridor and the designation of the Bella Vista Bypass to create high quality activity centers along I-49/US-71.
How does this affect business?
The plan will benefit businesses of the region through a more efficient I-49 corridor that includes amenities to attract residents and visitors, a transportation network that is easy to navigate, and high-quality development and industrial parks. Identified clusters of opportunity, coupled with business attraction and growth efforts, supply chain mapping, and targeted workforce development and sectors efforts to attract people, business, and opportunity here are being mapped. The corridor will facilitate the movement of people and product, from manufacturers to distributors across the region, to the markets here and beyond.
· Identify clusters of manufacturers and sectors; identify supply chains and needs
· Identify opportunities for attraction and expansion
· Identify inhibitors to growth
· Help facilitate sustainable development and growth; retain the quality of life and natural assets that make this region attractive
Economic developers are mapping assets on the Missouri side, at each I-49 exit, relating to industrial (and residential) land and existing industrial facilities that are for lease or for sale. There are complementary assets that the Pineville/Neosho/Joplin region bring to Northwest Arkansas (NWA)industry, particularly logistics, warehousing, and advanced manufacturing. There are a large number of NWA companies expanding into Missouri to leverage lower cost of labor and land, and the fact there is not a finished goods warehouse inventory tax, along with reduced commute times for distribution. There will also be significant residential developments in McDonald County and Neosho, feeding into each region’s labor pool. We are seeing NWA retailers expand into the area, and visa versa.
We are confident the Missouri-Arkansas Connector will become a cohesive economic region in the coming decades. We also aim to proactively organize at least quarterly leadership calls and an opening ribbon cutting ceremony in late September 2021.