Welcome to Metro Little Rock: Conway
As home to the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College and Central Baptist College, Conway has been dubbed the “City of Colleges.” Nearly 75 percent of its 65,000 residents are under the age of 45, adding to the city’s unique and vibrant atmosphere.
Conway is also a city with a thriving business environment, growing technology sector, many scenic lakes and parks and cultural prolificacy. It’s the perfect bait for getting local college graduates to stick around. In fact, 40 percent of Conway’s adults have a post-secondary degree, giving Conway an uncommon advantage in economic development.
The town also has a mindset for the future. Conway 2025 is a plan that was set in motion in 2010 by the Chamber of Commerce to keep Conway active, building, creative, learning, moving, safe and working. Of the 132 goals spread across these seven sectors, 20 percent have been completed and 37 percent are in progress already. Some of these complete and in-progress updates include the new Conway High School (opened in 2011), Conway airport (opened in 2014), firetrucks, the Hendrix Village, the Meadows Office & Technology Park, restrooms at local parks, improvements of bridges and interstates, the downtown revitalization project (including a signature entrance archway), more public art projects and many roundabouts.
The most recent additions to Conway include the new Baptist Medical Health Center and the Lewis Crossing Shopping Center. Located on Dave Ward Drive, the new shopping center is already booming with retailers like Sam’s Club, Academy Sports, Ross Dress for Less, Bed Bath & Beyond, Books-a-Million and Ulta as well as restaurants like On the Border. Other current shopping hubs in Conway are found in Downtown and Conway Commons.
Speaking of restaurants, the locals love Mike’s Place, Market Place, Stoby’s and Tacos 4 Life Grill, an eatery with a mission that donates a meal to a hungry child for every purchase. Another local favorite is Stoby's, which closed due to a kitchen fire in 2016. While the restaurant was closed, they opened a drive-through-only location that received enough business to keep the temporary location open even after the original brick-and-mortar location reopened in August 2017.
The town is dripping with jobs in higher education and health care. The Conway Regional Medical Center, Baptist Health Medical Center and Conway Human Development Center employ thousands of health professionals in Conway. The largest education-related employers are the Conway School District and the University of Central Arkansas, but Conway’s biggest employer is actually Acxiom Corporation, a software company specializing in database marketing that recently moved their headquarters from Little Rock to Conway.
Conway residents also enjoy median home prices well below the national average. It isn’t unusual to find a starter home below $100,000, but the median home cost is around $135,000. If you’re looking for luxury, try Centennial Valley.
Golfers flock to Conway because of several beautiful courses including Centennial Valley, Conway, Nutters Chapel and The Links at Cadron Valley country clubs. There’s also the Arkansas Golf Center, a club fitting center and lesson facility where practice makes perfect.
The city is not lacking in recreation either. The Conway city limits border Beaverfork Lake and Lake Conway, and the town is home to over 10 parks that contain a vast array of picnic and camping areas and pavilions, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, hiking and biking trails, and areas to swim and fish.
The city has also made extraordinary leaps in sustainability, making Conway one of the state’s greenest communities. A revolutionary automated recycling machine, reuse center, modern sanitary landfill and Styrofoam recycler in Conway are used by most of Faulkner county.
Conway lavishes its residents with cultural delights year-round. The entire Metro is drawn to the renowned performances at UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall. The Reynolds’ upcoming season includes stand-out acts such as “Wizard of Oz” and “Pixar in Concert.”
But possibly the most exciting Conway experience is the annual Toad Suck Daze. Don’t worry, no one’s actually sucking on toads. The three-day festival draws more than 160,000 people to downtown in May with outrageous food, rides, a 5K, and concerts including 2014’s headliner, MC Hammer.
• In 2017, the University of Central Arkansas in Conway ranked 24th in the category of “Top Public Schools” among regional universities in the South according to U.S. News & World Report, which is an improvement from their 2016 position of 29th.
• CBS MoneyWatch and Kiplinger included Conway among those on their lists of the “10 Cheapest Places to Live.”
• Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Conway as one of the “40 Strongest U.S. Metro Economies” in 2011.
• CNN Money ranked Conway 16th in the U.S. for growing cities with affordable home prices.