The city of Sherwood has undergone a tremendous number of changes during the last few years, and the community should take control to manage its growth, an official said recently.
That was the message from Planning Commission member Mike Berg on July 9 when the panel held its regular monthly meeting.
Berg’s comments came after commissioners looked over a series of maps prepared by Metroplan at Sherwood’s request. The maps show various trends in Sherwood, such as where the city is growing in population, sewer line locations, newly annexed areas, and how the community is managing the use of its land.
"Sherwood has annexed and has grown even on the other side of the freeway," Berg said.
He said Sherwood in recent years has annexed areas closer to North Little Rock as well as other locations like Gravel Ridge and up to the Little Rock Air Force Base.
Sherwood would be wise to consult with some of its close by sister cities, such as Conway and Vilonia, Berg said.
"Sherwood is 0.6 square miles larger than Conway," he said. "Conway is moving to the east and is coming toward Sherwood. The people of Sherwood could wake up one day one morning having Vilonia and Conway as their sister cities. … We encourage the citizens of Sherwood to look at where we are right now and where they would like the community to be in the future."
Berg said planning for Sherwood’s future and growth would be beneficial.
"The center of the city is moving from where City Hall is (Kiehl Avenue) to the Brockington Road area and (Arkansas) 107," he said.
Berg said it is his hope that the community would have a series of meetings during the next few years so Sherwood’s future growth is better planned.
"I hope we have a series of discussions with citizens, developers, politicians, elected officials, anyone who owns commercial property, large land owners, small land owners so that everyone has some input in what they want the city to be like in the future," Berg said.
Sherwood’s population currently is about 30,000, and in 20 years it could reach 50,000.
"We are no longer adjacent to a larger city," Berg said, speaking about North Little Rock. "We are a large city in Arkansas. We are no longer a bedroom community.
He said it is vital for cities to talk about potential growth-related problems, citing as an example the ongoing issues along the Maumelle-North Little Rock border.
"The city of North Little Rock and the city of Maumelle did not talk to each other," said Berg.
Berg said both cities would have been helped if they had worked together and come up with comprehensive land use plans for the Maumelle-North Little Rock border.
He does not want to see Sherwood have the same problems, he said.