Three Arkansas counties rank among fastest growing in nation

Most Arkansans know of Faulkner County's tremendous growth in recent years. But now it's gained national recognition as the 72nd fastest growing county in the nation.

One local official said he's not surprised.

"It feels like in the past year or so it's just been leaps and bounds," said Jonathon Sweet, manager and co-owner of ZAZA Restaurant in Conway.

It's the kind of growth any city is fortunate to see, especially during an economic recovery. Conway grew nearly five percent in two years. Sweet said the growth has been good for business.

"Busier and busier every night," said Sweet. "Every season is different."

Officials say recent developments are no accident but rather an accomplished goal city leaders set decades ago.

"Conway's always been very deliberate about growth," said Brad Lacy, CEO and President of Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. "They decided more than fifty years ago they were really going to grow a local economy here," he said.

Sweet attributes a large part of the growth to the University of Central Arkansas, located just a few minutes away.

"It's just exciting to be in a college town where there's a never ending cycle of new people, fresh blood constantly," said Sweet. "I'd say that has to be what it is."

Sweet himself decided to move here after living in Jacksonville for a few years.

"Everything is at my disposal here I don't have to worry about burning tons of gas getting anywhere,"said Sweet. "I just I just go home, go to work, go have fun somewhere else."

The flourishing local economy includes companies like Hewlett-Packard and Inuvo. It's contributed to growth that Lacy admits the city still has to catch up to.

"Most people here would probably say that we could use some additional road construction," said Lacy.

But Sweet says it's done more good than bad. And he believes there's still more to come.

"I expect it to just skyrocket," said Sweet. "We're ready for more of it."

There were two other counties that made the top one hundred. They are Saline County at number 95 and Benton County at 67.

Williams County, North Dakota took the top spot with a 20 percent growth.