Everything you need to know about Van Buren, Arkansas
Located in western Arkansas next to Oklahoma, Van Buren is the county seat and largest city of Crawford County. The south part of the county is bordered by the Arkansas River and is part of the Arkansas River Valley, and the north and less populated part of the county is within the scenic Boston Mountains range of the Ozark Mountains. Van Buren is adjacent to Fort Smith, the region’s largest city and the state’s second largest city.
Modes of transportation serving the county include I-40 and I-49, the Arkansas River Navigation System, three class one railroads and one short-line railroad, and the Fort Smith Municipal Airport.
As of 2018, the city of Van Buren’s population was 23,691 residents, Crawford County’s 63,406, and for the five-county Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), of which the city and county are a part, 282,318. North and adjacent to the Fort Smith MSA and Crawford County is the Northwest Arkansas MSA with a 2018 population of 549,128. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkansas_metropolitan_areas)
Van Buren’s seven block long Main Street is a designated national historic district that contains over seventy buildings that are classified historically significant. The city’s historic district commission regulates what exterior improvements can be made to the buildings through a Certificate of Appropriateness review process, which helps assure continuation of the historic nature of the district and its national historic designation.
As a designated historic district, capital and fixed-asset improvements made to the district’s historic structures can qualify owners for partial recovery of their expenditures through the federal and state governments’ rehabilitation tax credit programs. These programs offer, respectively,
TAX CREDITS amounting to
20% – 25%
of the total amount spent for CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS.
For more information about these programs, contact the city’s planning department at (479) 471-5006
or go to:
vanburencity.org/156/Historic-District and arkansaspreservation.com/Preservation-Services/rehabilitation-tax-credits
Important contributors to Downtown Van Buren’s past and current vitality and success is the city of Van Buren’s support through its investments in and maintenance of downtown improvements – such as parks, streetscape, parking and seasonal decorations – and its aggressive promotion of downtown to visitors by its Advertising & Promotion Commission. For information on city government and its A&P Commission, go to: vanburencity.org and vanburen.org.
In addition, Van Buren Original (VBO), a non-profit organization with a focus on enhancing Van Buren’s central city, has brought stakeholders together to plan, advocate for and coordinate development in ways that benefit not only downtown business owners but, most important, assure that the downtown is a positive contributor to the greater community and the entire Van Buren-Fort Smith region as a unique, quality of place asset. VBO also maintains current information on the occupancies and vacancies of Downtown properties and the availability of properties for sale or lease. For property availability information go to the Properties page.
For more information about Van Buren’s and the region’s economy and economic development, go to: vanburenchamber.org and fortsmithchamber.org.