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Pike's peak.

A hot spot of commercial development is tucked away in the extreme northeast corner of Pike County near the banks of the Caddo River.

Glenwood is enjoying a spurt of construction activity that also encompasses residential growth. Investors have shelled out $5.8 million on two motel projects, a retirement home expansion and a new golf course.

That dollar total does not include other deals recently completed or in the works, either.

Sonic Drive-In is looking at sites in Glenwood along with a pizza restaurant, said to be Pizza Hut. Adding zest to the development talk are hushed reports of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. scouting the market.

The projects, both real and hoped for, are especially welcome in light of the city's overall population drop of 4 percent during the 1980s.

Glenwood's population fell from 1,402 in 1980 to 1,345 in 1990, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That's only 57 folks, but the trend is reversing during this peak of development activity. The demographic surge is showing up at the local schools and prompting building projects there.

"Enrollment has grown 23 percent over the last two years," says Curtis Turner Jr., Glenwood School District superintendent. "We're having to build additional classroom space."

The school growth is a reflection of new families moving to town because of new jobs from companies like Aalfs Manufacturing Corp. of Sioux City, Iowa.

The company is gradually expanding its work force from 60 to 150 and produces Wrangler jeans at its newly opened Glenwood plant.

Bean Lumber Co. employs 175 workers at a $15 million mill complex built three years ago. The company is one of the largest independent producers of treated lumber and employs 480 workers at its nearby Amity facility.

"We're constantly upgrading and adding on," says Tim Bean, vice president of sales. "We've got a few more things on the drawing boards, too."

Growing Schools

Students from neighboring districts also are transferring into Glenwood schools under the freedom of choice provisions in Act 609.

The Glenwood district is drawing students from surrounding school districts like Kirby, Amity and Caddo Hills (formed by the merger of Norman and Caddo Gap districts).

Housing stock, for both homeowners and renters, will be a key in determining the city's growth.

"I feel comfortable in saying the only thing holding us back is our housing shortage here," Turner says. "Housing in Glenwood is a premium.

"We have 508 students right now. Realistically, I could foresee us between 600 and 700 students in the very near future if more housing becomes available."

The Davis subdivision, a 42-lot project, recently opened north of Glenwood just off state Highway 8. The developer has built a new house there and constructed a rent house that is also for sale.

"I had the land, and we needed some more lots here, so I thought I would build a few houses," says Wayne Davis, owner of Davis Lumber & Supply.

Milburn Dillard, a retired contractor, also is working on a 50-lot residential subdivision behind the Riverwood Inn site east of Glenwood on U.S. Highway 70.

The big attention-getter is a 160-acre golf development located in the rolling terrain of the Ouachita Mountain foothills, one mile east of Glenwood on U.S. 70.

"Everything will be ready for play by the middle of July," says Irvin Bainum, who is bankrolling the project. "I thought I could do this for $1 million, but it looks like I'm going to spend over $2 million to do everything.

"The Arkansas Golf Superintendent's Association said it would be one of the 10 best courses in the state. That means something, unless they're blowing smoke.

The Glenwood Country Club will include 30 home sites, and Bainum has received 60 residential inquiries from prospective buyers.

"Glenwood has been growing without the golf course, but that will be icing on the cake," Curtis Turner Jr. says.

Tee Time

The country club name reflects Bainum's private funds backing the effort but is misleading.

The 6,645-yard, par-72 championship course will be open to the public. Tennis courts and a swimming pool are planned for the next phase of the project.

"I thought it would be great for Glenwood," Bainum says. "It wasn't profit-driven."

Bainum is shrewd enough to know that what's good for Glenwood is good for the Bank of Glenwood, which he controls along with Pike County Bank in Murfreesboro.

The city already is attracting tourists and residents because of its triangle of nearby lakes: Lake Greeson, Lake Ouachita and Lake DeGray.

The city's location on the Caddo River and the edge of the Ouachita Mountains is a plus, along with its proximity to Hot Springs.

Civic boosters envision the golf course as an added draw to the growing traffic.

"For that reason, I think tourism will pick up even more," says Kelley Duggan, owner of Ouachita Mountain Real Estate in Glenwood.

Duggan is putting in a 20-unit hotel. The two-story Ouachita Mountain Inn project, located in Glenwood proper, will have five to 10 pads for motor homes.

Curtis Turner Jr. and Tim Bean are building 26 units of a planned 50-unit hotel on U.S. 70 east of Glenwood. The Riverwood Inn project will also have a 125-seat conference room.

More older residents are coming to Glenwood, too.

Partners Jimmy Jones and Roger Tidwell added 10 more beds in June with a 2,500-SF expansion to Glenwood Nursing Home. The facility now has space for 80 residents.

Jones and Tidwell now are building Oak Park Retirement Center, a 10,000-SF project expected to be completed in January.

The combined capital investment of the two projects is $800,000.

The partners also own and operate Oak Park Nursing Home, a 70-bed facility in Pine Bluff, through Jones and Tidwell Inc. And they're looking at other unspecified projects, too.

"We are trying to expand our operations quite a bit," Tidwell says.

The same could be said for two area hospitals now with a presence in Glenwood.

St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Hot Springs opened a clinic in 1992, and Hope Memorial Hospital opened a home health care facility this year.

Wright's Food Center, John Plyler's Home Center, Big Star grocery, the post office and both local banks all have expanded or are in the process of doing so.

Even two closed auto dealerships were resurrected. And then there's Reggie Jones Plaza, Northside Apartments and two new restaurants - Linda's, a Mexican eatery; and the Bread Basket, famed for its homemade bread.

Glenwood can't get its fill of development activity. That's a welcome change from the '80s.
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Title Annotation:Glenwood projects to attract investors
Author:Waldon, George
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Sep 27, 1993
Previous Article:In search of an icon.
Next Article:When bigger isn't better: larger tenants feel the squeeze from a tightening office market.

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