Leader Blues

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

TOP STORY >> Cabot slips to sixth in boomtown rankings

By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

Cabot has lost its boomtown designation to Maumelle, a suburb of Little Rock that should soon get its own high school.

Cabot was called the stateís boomtown almost a year ago by a Little Rock company that provides marketing information to large retailers nationwide. At that time, Cabot was the third fastest-growing city in the state, but its continual growth in population over a 10-year period and 83-percent increase in household income over that same period had reached $98,555, an impressive number by most standards.

But this year, that same company, the Gadberry Group, says Cabot is sixth for growth in the state behind Maumelle, Bryant, Conway, Centerton and Lowell, and ahead of Rogers, Bentonville and Fayetteville.

The report, released Monday, says the number of households in Maumelle grew by 85 percent from 2000 to 2009.

It also found the average household income rose by nearly $28,000 to $100,701.

Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams said Tuesday morning that he isnít concerned that his city has moved down in ranking. Cabot is still doing well and building is on the rise since the stock of available houses has been sold down.

And perhaps more importantly, smaller homes for young families are again being built in Cabot. For at least five years the 1,200- to 1,400-square-foot houses have been built in Ward and Austin where land was less expensive.

The high cost of land in Cabot was a deterrent to building starter homes. Instead, it has been used for many years as building sites for the homes of officers from Little Rock Air Force Base, who, like the Little Rock transplants who also have moved to Cabot by the thousands, were looking for good public schools for their children.

Those with jobs that paid less moved to Ward and Austin, which are also part of the Cabot School District.

But Williams said he is hopeful that the new subdivision of starter homes that is already under construction in Cabot is a sign of things to come, and that landowners are beginning to realize that they will have to lower their prices if they want their land to sell to developers.