Marion Co TOC
Graphics by Rhio
The Future Outlook for Marion Co AR"
(Page 516) In the prior chapters, an attempt was made to bring to the attention of the readers of this volume, a little of the history of the families, the personalities, the events and happenings that gave us the Marion County of today; to help us to understand that the Marion County of the present is simply the undeveloped, developing county, and hopefully, to cause us to see the possibilities and potentialities of the Marion County of the future.
Educational progress has kept step with the economic development in county. School enrollment has increased from 1,279 in 1960 to 1,341 in 1970 and to 1,608 in 1975.
There has also been a decided improvement of the physical facilities at the Yellville-Summit School and the same is true at Flippin. Additional buildings must be constructed soon if the enrollment continues to grow. The Bruno-Pyatt School, part of the Marion County District, has a fine new school plant near Eros. Oakland, north of Bull Shoals Lake, has a new modern elementary school building. In the last 15 years, construction costs have been approximately $1,062,000.
Almost, if not all the teachers, now have four years or more of college and several teachers have Master's Degrees and some have PHD's.
Recreation and tourism have become important industries in Marion County. Bull Shoals Dam on the White River between Baxter and Marion Counties was begun in June, 1947 and completed in July, 1951. At the time of its completion, it was the fifth largest concrete dam in the United States. About 62 per cent of the dam itself is in Marion County. The lake formed by the dam has 1,650 miles of rugged shore line. Of the 6,036 square miles of drainage area above the dam, a considerable portion of this is in Marion County. It is estimated that approximately 75 per cent of the Bull Shoals Lake Area is in the county. The lake has become famous for its bass fishing, boating, water skiing and swimming. The lake never freezes and there is year round fishing. White River below the dam abounds in Rainbow Trout. In the forests surrounding the lake, hunters find a plentiful supply of deer, squirrel, rabbit and other small game. Some black bear have been seen in the area. Turkey, ducks, and quail are found in the area.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, reported the greatest gains in attendance records at Bull Shoals of all the Corps' lakes. In 1975, 4,400,000 people visited Bull Shoals Lake. This was an increase of 18.7 per cent over the .3,700,000 visitors in 1974.
The nearby Bull Shoals State Park with approximately 800 acres is located in Baxter and Marion Counties. A greater part of this park is in Marion County. The office, restaurant and cabins are located in Baxter County. Campsites, picnic areas, play grounds, nature trails, trailer dumps, rest rooms and showers are in Marion County.
An added tourist attraction in the Bull Shoals area is the Bull Shoals Caverns which attracts thousands of tourists annually. In the town of Bull Shoals is Mountain Village 1890, an authentic reproduction of an 1890 Ozark Mountain Village, replete with a 19th century church building, a one-room school house, country store, saloon, courtroom, jail, blacksmith shop, barbershop, doctor's office and hotel. It brings many visitors to the area and a younger generation can see what life was like in the Ozarks before the turn of the century.
In the southern part of the county is the scenic Buffalo River, one of the few free flowing, clear water streams unspoiled by the hand of man left in the nation. The stream is famous for its fishing and its scenic float trips. Buffalo River is now a part of the National River System, and the former Buffalo River State Park with cabins, a lodge, an excellent restaurant and (Page 519 Top) camp sites, is now a part of the Buffalo National River System. Buffalo I Point, a scenic view overlooking Buffalo River, is a very popular tourist and recreational attraction.
We are indebted to the Buffalo National Rivers Headquarters at Harrison for the following information: approximately 25,800 acres of the National River System is in Marion County.
Visitors to the overall project in 1975 were in excess of 179,000 and in 1976, this had grown to 225,000. The projected 1977 estimate is 268,000. Buffalo Point in Marion County had more than 54,000 overnight campers in 1975 and about the same number in 1976. This is the maximum capacity at present.
When the then United States Senator J. W. Fulbright introduced the bill in the Senate creating the Buffalo National River, it was said then that this was a 100 year project and present plans indicate that it may take that long to complete the project.
In an earlier chapter, trails, roads and highways were discussed. We point out herein some projected improvements for the roads and highways. Some of these improvements are now underway. U. S. Highway 62 from Yellville to Flippin is being widened and passing lanes are being constructed. Highway 125 from the Pyatt-Bruno school building near Eros to Highway 235 at Bruno is to be blacktopped in the near future, and plans call for the later blacktopping of the remainder of Highway 235 across Marion County and Searcy County to its junction with Highway 65 near Pindall. Highway 202 from its junction with Highway 178 just north of Flippin up the Fallen Ash Valley through Summit to the junction of U. S. Highway 62 near the Wilkerson Crossing will be blacktopped. Highway 178 from Flippin to Bull Shoals will be widened and resurfaced in the future.
It is anticipated that in the next few years, many of the more heavily traveled county roads will be blacktopped. Among those county roads planned for blacktopping is the road known as the Blue Heaven road east of Pyatt on old Highway 62 to its junction with Highway 14 north; the county road from its junction with Highway 14 near Peel to the Boone County line near Lead Hill; a county road west from Fairview junction 178 to the nearby Bull Shoals Lake and east from Fairview to White River; the old CCC road from Highway 14 to the old townsite of Kingdon Springs, and the road from Lakeway Store to the lake in the Yokum Bend and on east to the lake beyond Frost Bluff. A proposed project of interest is to extend Highway 101 from Hand Valley across Buffalo River near its mouth to Highway 14 and the Blanchard Caverns. This is probably twenty years or more in the future provided it does not conflict with the Buffalo National River project.
Earlier in this chapter we quoted figures from the Industrial Research and Extension Center of the College of Business Administration's Bulletin: State and County Economic Data for Arkansas, showing the rapid growth of bank deposits in the county. To indicate further the growth of the two banks in the county, The Bank of Yellville has opened a branch in Bull Shoals and is now issuing an additional $600,000.00 of common stock to better serve the interests of its customers. The Citizens Bank of Flippin will also issue an additional 6,000 shares of common stock and has been given the authority to open a branch at Summit. The Northwest Arkansas Economic Development Authority reports a 487 per cent growth in bank deposits in the county (Page 520 Top) from 1967 to 1974. The growth since then has been even more rapid and it is very likely that a Savings and Loan Association will be authorized in the near future.
While the Missouri Pacific Railroad offers freight service and Garrison Truck Lines serve the county over Highway 62, the county is lagging behind in its transportation facilities. Commercial passenger transportation is a problem. The county has no rail passenger service and it is not served by an interstate bus line. The county does have a fine airport near Flippin and plans are now being considered and studied by the County Airport Commission and when and if the plans are carried out, the airport will be one of the better ones in the State with facilities capable of taking care of the larger passenger and cargo planes. The improvement of this airport may well be completed within the next five years.
A quick look at the five incorporated towns indicates growth and progress.
Bull Shoals will complete within ten years an adequate modern sewer system to take care of its rapidly growing population.
It is anticipated that the State will build and operate a ferry from Bull Shoals to the Oakland area within the next ten years.
Flippin has recently let contracts for extending and expanding the water system. The sewer system has been expanded but further expansion will -be needed to take care of the growing population which is expected to exceed 2,000 by 1990 and to adequately serve the growing number of small industries the area is attracting due to the very favorable sites now available. Plans are now being developed for remodeling and enlarging the City Hall so that it may be used as a sort of Community Civic Center.
Pyatt is now in the process of constructing a water system and this will be followed by a sewer system. Pyatt is located on the Missouri Pacific Railroad and is ideally located for industrial growth particularly related to the timber industry.
Summit is located on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Highway 14 passes through the town, North to South and the new Highway 202 when paved will be East-West arterial highway. Summit has an abundance of building sites both for small industries and for homes. The branch of the Citizens Bank of Flippin soon to be opened will give Summit a boost. The expected growth in population will call for a sewer system and extension of the water system.
Yellville as the county seat and, too, because of its central location, will continue to grow and remain the most important town in the county. Plans are under study for the construction of a Community Center Building. Improvements are to be made to the courthouse. The County Library is housed in an adequate building and serves the entire county. New businesses are being established. The Nursing Home is being enlarged and hopefully, the County Hospital can be maintained and additional physicians attracted to the area. The growing school population of Yellville-Summit will require additional school facilities in the near future.
While the growth of the towns has been pointed out, it must be shown that the areas outside the towns are having "growing pains" also. A drive over any county road reveals a growing number of beautiful new residences on small plots of land. Many retired people from the larger cities of the North and East are settling in the County, bringing new ideas, new skills, (Page 521 Top) and new culture to the area and blending into the social, political, religious and economic life of the area and are being welcomed as good citizens and good neighbors.
Marion County, long recognized for its agriculture, its livestock, its timber, and its mineral resources, has in the past ten years experienced a rapid growth in industrial development. This is best illustrated in the fact that in 1975, wages paid to industrial workers amounted to approximately $5,800,000.00 The industrial plants located in Marion County are primarily small plants employing from five or more workers to one hundred or more. The Arkansas Industrial Development Commission lists the following plants, their location and approximate number of employees:
Along with the other changes heretofore discussed, it is well to point out the changes in County government brought about by the adoption of Amendment #55. While there is no change in name of the county offices, far reaching changes may be in the making. The County Judge, long considered as the chief administrative officer of the county with little restrictions as to his administrative functions, will now have the assistance or the hindrance, as the case may be, of a nine member Quorum Court elected by the people. This Quorum Court is, in effect, a county legislative body whose purpose is to propose and enact county ordinances for governing the county. The ordinances must be in keeping with the State's general statutes, but will permit a wide latitude of local regulation. The court will meet monthly with the County Judge to plan, advise, propose and adopt or reject measures that will help the County Judge in the administration of county government. This court has the authority to determine what offices are needed in the county and fix the salaries of the offices. The nine member Quorum Court is composed of the following: Jim Carr, Larry Evans, Roscoe Jefferson, Hal Johnson, Cecil R. Lee, Charles Robinson, Walter G. Satterthewaite, John Sessions, and Lyle A. Wood.