Bryant garners more national, statewide notoriety


In July of 2009, Bryant was named one of the top 100 small towns in which to live by CNN’s Money Magazine. In December, the magazine took a second look at those top 100 towns and examined the unemployment rates of the counties in which they were located. The results of this study showed Saline County to be number 10 in the 10 best places for jobs. The study found the county’s unemployment rate to be 5.6 percent, well below the national average of 10 percent.

Rae Ann Fields, Executive Director of the Bryant Chamber of Commerce, said the growth of the whole area of Central Arkansas has helped to keep the unemployment rate low. She also said there are many people who commute to Little Rock or Hot Springs for work and that Bryant’s location within a short commute of both larger towns also helps.[more]

“There are several factors that pulled together to make us able to say we have good job stability,” said Fields.

Bryant was also recognized in a report developed by the Gadberry Group. This report, which was released Jan. 5, ranked the top 9 Arkansas towns by growth percentage. Bryant came in at number two, behind the top-ranked Maumelle. According to the report, Bryant had a 47.7 percent increase in number of households between 2000 and 2009. The group also considered factors such as average length of residence, average income change from 2000 and average net worth to determine the ranking.

Bryant Mayor Larry Mitchell said he believed the number one reason for the growth was the schools in Bryant. He also cited the safety of the community and the parks program as contributing factors.

Mitchell said he believed the growth would continue. He based this opinion on the continued housing development in the area.

With growth come challenges. Mitchell acknowledged the city will need to keep up with infrastructure issues such as maintaining sufficient water capacity, waste water management, changes to streets and staffing of the police and fire departments, but he remained positive about the city’s ability to face them.

Mitchell knew the city was growing rapidly, but didn’t expect the outcome of the report.

“I was surprised we were number two,” admitted Mitchell. “I expected to be in the top 10 or maybe top five, but was surprised to be second.”

Fields said another reason people move to and stay in Bryant has to do with the overall attitude of the community.

“I think part of it is the perception people have that we have a progressive community,” said Fields.

She cited good schools and the new LEED certified “green” school buildings as proof that the community is made up of people who want to work to make things better.

She said it showed a different way of thinking, “The whole mindset of trying to look for the new way of doing things.”

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