Jacksonville, Arkansas

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Jacksonville, Arkansas
City
Motto: "Soaring higher"
Location of Jacksonville in Arkansas
Coordinates: 34°52′13″N 92°06′55″W / 34.87028°N 92.11528°W / 34.87028; -92.11528Coordinates: 34°52′13″N 92°06′55″W / 34.87028°N 92.11528°W / 34.87028; -92.11528
CountryUnited States
StateArkansas
CountyPulaski
Founded1870
Incorporated1941
Government
 • MayorGary Fletcher
Area
 • City28.2 sq mi (73.1 km2)
 • Land28.1 sq mi (72.8 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation285 ft (87 m)
Population (2010)
 • City28,364
 • Density1,000/sq mi (390/km2)
 • Metro699,757 ('10) (Little Rock/North Little Rock)
Time zoneCST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes72076, 72078, 72099
Area code(s)501
FIPS code05-34750
GNIS feature ID0057978
Websitewww.cityofjacksonville.net
 
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Jacksonville, Arkansas
City
Motto: "Soaring higher"
Location of Jacksonville in Arkansas
Coordinates: 34°52′13″N 92°06′55″W / 34.87028°N 92.11528°W / 34.87028; -92.11528Coordinates: 34°52′13″N 92°06′55″W / 34.87028°N 92.11528°W / 34.87028; -92.11528
CountryUnited States
StateArkansas
CountyPulaski
Founded1870
Incorporated1941
Government
 • MayorGary Fletcher
Area
 • City28.2 sq mi (73.1 km2)
 • Land28.1 sq mi (72.8 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation285 ft (87 m)
Population (2010)
 • City28,364
 • Density1,000/sq mi (390/km2)
 • Metro699,757 ('10) (Little Rock/North Little Rock)
Time zoneCST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes72076, 72078, 72099
Area code(s)501
FIPS code05-34750
GNIS feature ID0057978
Websitewww.cityofjacksonville.net

Jacksonville is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States, and a suburb of Little Rock. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 28,364.[1] It is part of the Little RockNorth Little RockConway Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The city is named for Nicholas Jackson, landowner who deeded the land for the railroad right-of-way to the Cairo & Fulton Railroad in 1870. The community evolved from the settlement surrounding the railroad depot, eventually incorporating in 1941. In 1941, construction began on the Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP), which served as the primary facility for the development of fuses and detonators for World War II.[2] Following the war, AOP ceased operations and the land was sold for commercial interests, including the development of the Little Rock Air Force Base in 1955. Today, portions of AOP still remain, including the Arkansas Ordnance Plant Guard House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Jacksonville Museum of Military History. Despite Pulaski County being one of the few counties in Arkansas that is not a "dry" county, as it allows the sales of beer and liquor, the municipal limits of Jacksonville are "moist", as it does not allow the sales of alcohol in stores, but allows the sale of alcohol in some restaurants with special permits.

Geography[edit]

Jacksonville is located at 34°52′13″N 92°6′55″W / 34.87028°N 92.11528°W / 34.87028; -92.11528 (34.870345, −92.115164).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.2 square miles (73.1 km2), of which 28.1 square miles (72.8 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.42%, is water.[4]

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 29,916 people, 10,890 households, and 8,004 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,134.2 people per square mile (437.9/km²). There were 11,890 housing units at an average density of 450.8 per square mile (174.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 64.17% White, 27.88% Black or African American, 0.50% Native American, 1.98% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 1.14% from other races, and 2.58% from two or more races. 6.24% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10,890 households out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.1% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.5% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 12.8% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 100.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,460, and the median income for a family was $40,381. Males had a median income of $26,708 versus $21,804 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,369. About 11.9% of families and 14.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.

Historical figures[1][6]
YearPopulation
1940200
196016,700
197019,800
198027,600
199029,100
200029,916
201028,364

Education[edit]

Since 1927, Jacksonville had been part of the Pulaski County Special School District, one of the largest school districts in Arkansas. In the years leading up to September, 2008, parts of the Jacksonville community expressed a desire to split from the PCSSD. This measure was approved by the board of the PCSSD during that month, clearing the way, legally, for the formation of a Jacksonville public school district. Such measures are not complete, however, as the legislation to create such a school district has not been officially proposed, nor has the idea met federal court approval, necessary because of Pulaski County's long-running school-desegregation case.[7]

The bulk of the city is contained in the PCSSD's Zone 6, with local campuses including the main high school, Jacksonville High School, hosting grades 9–12; one middle school; and several elementary schools. The outlying areas surrounding Jacksonville, along with the Little Rock Air Force Base, are served by North Pulaski High School, located in northwestern Jacksonville. Additional elementary, middle, and junior high school campuses in and near western Jacksonville serve the same area (the district's Zone 5), with one elementary campus — Arnold Drive Elementary — exclusively serving the Air Force base. Homer Adkins Elementary, on Jacksonville's southern edge, is in Zone 7 of the district.

A number of privately operated daycare services and church-affiliated schools are also available throughout the city. In addition, Arkansas State University-Beebe maintains a degree center at Little Rock Air Force Base for post-secondary education.

Public libraries[edit]

The Central Arkansas Library System includes the Esther Dewitt Nixon Library in Jacksonville.

Notable residents[edit]

RB McGrath, Artist. 1949–present. Noted for portraits of William Jefferson Clinton, Governor Mike Beebe and Mayor Gary Fletcher. McGrath portraits hang in the collection of the Clinton Foundation in Little Rock and the Governors Mansion Permanent Collection also in Little Rock. McGrath's images of Jacksonville, a collection of six large format landscape paintings, now hang permanently in the lobby of City Hall in Jacksonville. The entire collection, purchased by Joan Tyler Zumwalt, was placed on permanent loan to the City of Jacksonville in 2012. www.rbmcgrath.com

Vertac controversy[edit]

The Vertac site in Jacksonville is one of the nation’s worst hazardous waste sites and Arkansas's most publicized Superfund site. Cleanup of the area after its abandonment by its corporate owner took more than a decade, and the name "Vertac" soon became synonymous in Arkansas with the fear of industrial pollution, similar to how New Yorkers view Love Canal.

The Vertac site was originally part of the Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP), a World War II–era facility that manufactured various components of explosive devices, such as primers and detonators. In 1946, the federal government offered the AOP facilities for sale to private companies. The future Vertac site was purchased in 1948 by Reasor-Hill Company, which produced pesticides, as did the Hercules Powder Company, which bought the facility in 1961. Both of these companies manufactured the now-banned DDT, as well as 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and 2,4,5-T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid). Ten years after purchasing the facility, Hercules Powder Company began leasing the site to Transvaal, Inc., which bought the site in 1976 but filed for bankruptcy only two years later. In 1978, Vertac Chemical Corporation of Memphis, Tennessee, obtained the site.

The same year that the Vertac company began its tenure in Jacksonville, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the sale of herbicide 2,4,5-T, though it continued allowing the use of the chemical on rice fields. (Agent Orange, the defoliant used widely by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, was equal parts 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T.) A byproduct of 2,4,5-T production is dioxins—extremely toxic chemicals linked to cancer, disorders of the nervous system, miscarriages, birth defects, spina bifida, and more. The city of Times Beach, Missouri, was evacuated in the early 1980s after federal investigators found high levels of dioxin in the city’s soil and water. More notorious was the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York, which was the site of a chemical dump for Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Corporation; these chemicals seeped into the surrounding area and caused an outbreak of cancers, birth defects, and other health problems. President Jimmy Carter eventually declared the Love Canal area a state of emergency, and all residents were evacuated. The publicity these disasters received—along with Kentucky's "Valley of the Drums", described widely as "the nation's poster child for industrial negligence"—led in 1980 to the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as the Superfund law. Created to deal with abandoned sites of industrial pollution, CERCLA taxed and fined companies to recover clean-up costs and established containment procedures for such intensively polluted sites.

Both Hercules and Vertac had buried an untold number of dioxin-contaminated drums at the Jacksonville site. In 1979, the EPA investigated the Vertac site and found numerous drums releasing hazardous chemicals into the environment. The Arkansas Department of Pollution Control and Ecology (ADPC&E), later the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), forbade Vertac from continuing the manufacture of the very profitable 2,4,5-T and required the company to improve its practices of disposing of hazardous wastes. The discovery later that year of traces of dioxin in fish in a nearby creek led the EPA and the ADPC&E jointly to sue both Vertac and Hercules, and federal Judge Henry Woods ordered Vertac to prevent the spread of dioxin in the surrounding environment, most notably by constructing a wall around its waste pond. A 1979 article in Life magazine dubbed Jacksonville a "poisoned town". After tests on June 9, 1985, the EPA warned local residents that local water wells were contaminated with dioxin. Meanwhile, still forbidden from manufacturing 2,4,5-T, Vertac began laying off employees through the next few years.

Jacksonville residents frequently received conflicting information about the level of contamination in their community. After further testing of local wells on July 11, 1985, the EPA retracted its earlier claim of dioxin contamination, citing potential laboratory errors for the initial report. Three years later, the EPA completely downgraded its assessment of dioxin's toxicity, a decision that came under serious criticism, especially given other recently published studies on the detrimental effects of dioxin upon the immune system and its link with cancer. The EPA's 1985 and 1988 retraction of previous dioxin claims did not help to stave off financial troubles for Vertac, however, and the company abandoned its Jacksonville site in 1987, declaring bankruptcy and leaving behind nearly 29,000 drums of chemical wastes, many already corroding; some 15,000 of these had been left outside, exposed to the elements.

The EPA declared the Vertac site a Superfund site and initiated the cleanup and containment process. The initial plan decided upon by the EPA and ADPC&E was to incinerate the waste at the Vertac site, but this met with opposition by local residents, some of whom filed a lawsuit in 1989 to prevent the incineration from taking place. Some of the first tests of this process were beset by technical problems, leading the ADPC&E to halt incineration for a while in 1991. Four separate legal actions to halt the incineration were eventually decided in the government’s favor, and by late 1994 more than 23,000 drums had been burned; the remainder was shipped to Coffeyville, Kansas, for incineration. After the incineration, the EPA proceeded to carry out clean-up on contaminated soil and destroy the remaining industrial structures.

On September 1, 1998, the city of Jacksonville marked the official end of the site’s cleanup, which cost more than $150 million. However, many residents continued to believe that not enough had been done to secure their safety. On April 23, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court, after years of litigation, let stand a lower court ruling that held Hercules responsible for $120 million of the clean-up costs. By slipping into receivership, the Vertac company evaded any responsibility for the damages. As of 2009, the site is listed as safe by the EPA, but the legacy of industrial waste remains with the location and with the entire city of Jacksonville.

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Jacksonville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[10]

References[edit]

External links[edit]