A New Bike and $10,000 Awarded to First 25 "Life Works Here" Recipients

February 25, 2021

Business

NWA Sales Tax Revenue Up 6.63% This Month

NWA Daily (Pinnacle Hills Promenade; Rogers)

All that holiday spending paid off, NWA! In February's report - Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale received over $8 million in sales tax revenue, increasing from $7.603 million in February of last year. Each city collects a local sales tax, and the February report reflects 1% of that tax, which flows into their operating budget.

  • Rogers reported the largest increase in revenue at $2.303 million from $2.102 million in 2020, a 9.57% growth. Impressively, Rogers also maintained its 2021 sales tax revenue budget of $19.9 million, which requires revenue of $1.666 million per month.
  • Springdale also started the year off right with a sales tax revenue up 7.37% in January and up again 7.32% in February. In this month's report, Springdale's sales tax revenue totaled a whopping $1.544 million - the highest on record for the city in February.
  • Fayetteville's STR rose 6.85% from 2020, and the city's STR through February totaled $4.72 million, up from $4.2 million reported a year ago.
  • Bentonville reported STR growth of 2.38% in February, with revenue totaling $1.847 million and a 49.16% increase in the revenue as well. January and February's revenue totals $3.396 million, a 13.3% increase from $2.997 million in 2020. -Talk Business & Politics

Community

Get Away to the Hideout, A New Urban Glamping Experience in Fayetteville

Looking for your next stay-cation? If you're the type of person that likes the idea of camping without sacrificing any of the comfort, pay attention. Nestled right in the center of Fayetteville is a new glamping experience called 'The Hideout,' which consists of two luxury Airstream trailers now available for rent.

  • Local NWA couples Cole and Natalie Bailey, Matt and Jessica Miller, and Megan and Keaton Smith, said the idea came from seeing other similar projects that were successful across the country.
  • “We knew people visiting a fun town like Fayetteville would love to have an option like this," Keaton said. “We decided something like this in the middle of town would allow visitors to experience more with the camping feel without sacrificing the creature comforts we all appreciate." -Fayetteville Flyer
  • The airstream trailers rent for around $125 per night, with possible price fluctuations due to demand. We're definitely adding this to our NWA bucket list.

The Hideout is located at 481 S. School Avenue, right off the Razorback Greenway.

Community

NWA Council's 'Life Works Here' Initiative Selects First Recipients

In November 2020, the Northwest Arkansas Council launched the ambitious “Life Works Here” initiative which promises a $10,000 bonus along with a mountain bike or an annual membership to a local arts or cultural institution, to professionals across the world looking to relocate to the region. The initiative's announcement generated a buzz across the country, and the applications reflect that.

  • The council has received over 26,000 applications from all 50 states and 115 countries. The council has selected 25 applicants in the first round, all who represent a wide variety of talents and professions ranging from arts, technology and the culinary industry.
  • With their monetary reward and new bike or museum membership, the recipients will be asked to help highlight NWA's community and economy. In addition, recipients may be asked to participate in marketing campaigns for future initiatives.
  • Launched by the NWA Council, the initiative also receives backing from the Walton Family Foundation. The Life Works Here campaign is just a sampling [of] the exceptional individuals we've been able to attract to our region with the incentive program," said Nelson Peacock, CEO of NWA Council. -Arkansas Money & Politics

Sports

Going for Gold: Pooja Kalyan Aims to be 2nd-Ever Olympic Figure Skater from Arkansas

Pooja Kalyan, an 18-year-old NWA native, has her sights set on becoming the second-ever figure skating Olympian from Arkansas. Kalyan, a former student of the New School in Fayetteville, is now studying virtually and training full-time in Colorado Springs.

  • The skater boasts an impressive track record - she is a U.S. Figure Skating Junior silver medalist and a novice bronze medalist. "Olympics has been one of my biggest dreams," she said. -40/29 News
  • Kalyan mentioned inspiration struck during her first visit to the Jones Center in 2009 when she saw skaters "spinning and twirling". More importantly, she is now one of the few figure skaters of South Asian descent at the international level.
  • "I think it's a great way to show skaters that they can achieve a lot in this sport regardless of what skin tone they have or what ethnicity they are," Kalyan said. "I just think that that's kinda what I'm trying to show as I progress through figure skating." -40/29 News

Economy

Bentonville Church Launches Initiative to Erase $24M in Medical Debt

NWA Daily (Mt. Sequoyah; Fayetteville)

The All Saints Episcopal Church in Bentonville has launched a massive initiative to erase over $24 million in medical debts for Arkansans in need. The church partnered with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which purchases debt at a discounted rate, thus forgiving it with no collection necessary.

  • Rev. Milford with All Saints Episcopal Church was concerned after seeing reactions on social media about the uptick in medical expenses and the inability to pay. In response, she reached out to RIP Medical Debt for help. The organization focuses on people who earn less than 2x the federal poverty level, have out-of-pocket expenses that are more than 5% of their annual income, and whose debts are greater than their assets.
  • "The individuals we are trying to help are those most in need... the reason why we can buy the debt off the market for so low is because the debt collectors know that the chances of collecting that debt are low," said Executive Director Allison Sesso.
  • Once the debt is paid for, the nonprofit will contact the impacted individual to inform them of their forgiven debt - with no additional action necessary. In December, Rev. Milford organized a statewide campaign to raise $172,000 that will be used to erase $24 million in medical debt across the state.
  • Listen to the inspirational story on KUAF.

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