The city of Walnut Ridge in Lawrence is rated one of the most affordable and one of the safest places to live in Arkansas.
The 2020 rankings from HomeSnacks.net show Walnut Ridge to be number one on its list of Cheapest Places to Live, and number nine on its Safest Cities in Arkansas. The website compiled its rankings from all cities in the state with over 5,000 residents.
“Affordability and safety are both critically important to families, so these two rankings say a lot about what Walnut Ridge has to offer. They acknowledge what we already knew about our town, that this is a great place to live with a really high quality of life,” said Mayor Charles Snapp.
Walnut Ridge moved up to first place on the Cheapest Places to Live list, after ranking second last year. The website said rankings are based on US Census data for median housing costs, median income and overall cost of living.
The city came in at ninth in the Safest Places to Live, after being unranked last year. That list is based on statistics for property crime and violent crime.
The website goes on to note the Beatles at the Ridge festival, the popular festival held in Walnut Ridge every September. Snapp said the city’s tributes to the Beatles an early rock-and-roll have been the catalyst to rejuvenating its downtown.
“This community came together like we’ve rarely seen before to build Beatles Park and the Guitar Walk at Cavenaugh Park. That energy breathed new life into our downtown, and it is leading to continued progress all across Walnut Ridge,” Snapp said.
The mayor noted ongoing improvements at Stewart Park, the city’s 70-acre park, including new bicycle paths for young people, added amenities at the baseball and softball fields and a popular Christmas light display.
Lawrence County has also completed paving to a 7-mile walking/bicycling trail that runs from Williams Baptist University all the way through Walnut Ridge and into Hoxie.
“We have added many amenities to make this an even greater place to live, and we’re just getting started,” Snapp said. “New housing and new businesses are going up all over town. We are making Walnut Ridge a destination city for families and retirees, and rankings like these from HomeSnacks.net prove that word is getting out.”
In 2019, new construction residential permits were up 75% as compared to 2017 and 2018 combined, Snapp said.