Residents of the Calico Rock area, on the White River in north central Arkansas, are attempting to plan their future. They have created a blog called Calico Sunrise to serve as a newsletter and forum for their endeavor, which is intended to involve the input of all segments of the community.
The Calico Rock area is lovely, and it looks like a great place to live and to visit. It is similar to the Branson area in a purely physical sense–it is in the Ozarks on the White River with a railroad running alongside, there are lakes nearby, and there are wonderful bluffs and vistas and smaller streams in deep, quiet valleys. While there is some tourism there and a lot of retirees, the tourism lacks the industrial-strength tourism of Branson. In some ways, Calico Rock is what Branson might have been without Silver Dollar City and the music show industry.
I wish the people of Calico Rock well. I hope they will focus on health rather than growth, so that they can have the community they want and stay off the economic roller-coaster. To do this, they will need to look at giving their children great educations and building an economy with an export sector, rather than too heavily based on tourism.