Population: 12205 (2014 Census)
Source: United States Census Bureau
FUN FACT: Arkalalah, the biggest festival in Ark City, started in 1928 and has been held annually during the last full weekend in October.
Arkansas City is located at the confluence of the Arkansas and Walnut rivers on the southern-most boundary of the beautiful Flint Hills in south-central Kansas, and was the starting line for the Cherokee Strip land rush of 1893.
Ark City’s surroundings are beautiful and serene, but the town is on the move. As industry expanded, population grew nearly four percent to 12,415 between 2000 and 2010.
Arkansas City recently was featured as a “hidden gem” on Fox Business channel’s “Today in America with Terry Bradshaw” for being one of the best places in the United States to live, work, play and retire.
A recent revitalization of Ark City’s historical downtown is an expression of the community’s progressive spirit. This spirit is exemplified in the restoration of the historical Burford Theater by private fundraising efforts into a 900-seat auditorium/art center located at the epicenter of the downtown area.
The youth of Arkansas City attend state-of-the-art schools where math, science, the arts, technology and vocational skills are not only taught by top-notch instructors, but are regularly reinforced by many in the business community through chamber of commerce programming. Athletes compete on recently renovated facilities with up-to-date fields and courts for baseball, softball, football, tennis, track and soccer. The tennis and baseball/softball complexes attract statewide and regional tournaments.
Voters approved a sales tax in 2008 that led to construction of a new hospital that opened in 2011. The South Central Kansas Medical Center features the latest in technology and has attracted new specialists to town.
The city’s 65-bed Best Western Plus Patterson Park Inn, which opened the summer of 2014, is the first in the nation to have both extended-stay and standard guest rooms.
With tree-lined neighborhoods and brick streets, Arkansas City has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for 20 years. Residents play, practice and picnic at its 15 parks, the most famous of which is Wilson Park.
Train Park – as nicknamed by locals – features a hands-on, antique Santa Fe steam engine suitable for climbing. “Ole 2504” stands as a tribute to the important role the railroad industry played in the city’s history.
A scenic hike-bike trail, which circles the city, offers a favorite outdoor activity for all ages.
The name of this community is not pronounced like the state of Arkansas, but as Ar-KAN’-sas, with emphasis on the second syllable. It’s the Ar-KAN-sas River that winds west and south of town where fishermen row their canoes and hook giant catfish.
With its substantial agribusiness sector, the Arkansas City economy supports such industrial leaders as Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, a beef-packing plant that employs more than 1,000 local individuals, achieved net sales of $614M in 2012, and supports a customer base that extends across the United Stated with product exported to more than 70 countries.
Cowley College, a two-year educational facility located in the heart of the city, offers quality education at an affordable price and is regularly ranked among the highest junior colleges in academics and athletics in the country. Its award-winning theater, music and art programs not only prepare students for significant advancement in their liberal arts careers, but also add to the culture of the community. The school’s expanding sports complex in south Ark City has transformed a former unsightly industrial strip into a highly functional and impressive arena of athletic activity.
Ark City’s largest festival of the year, Arkalalah – an Indian word meaning “good times,” celebrated its 83rd year in 2014 and attracts thousands of visitors, school alumni and area residents each year. The largest car show in the region, the Last Run Car Show, takes over the entire community the last full weekend in September and often welcomes more than 1,000 antique and styled cars to the streets.
The Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum displays tools, crafts, documents and clothing from the late 1800s. It owns an early copy of the Declaration of Independence, and features a display of Arkansas City’s most famous resident, Robert Docking, who served as Kansas governor from 1967 to 1975.
“There are treasures around every corner, in this gem of a town. You just have to look and will find them. It could be a person you run into at the grocery store, a place that you haven’t visited since you were a kid, or something you find along the way. When anyone asks me how long I have lived in Ark City, I proudly say, “Born and raised!” Some of my greatest memories range from many years ago to just last week.”
– Liz Shepard, Cowley College Upward Bound director
Among Cities With Most Affordable Homeowners’ Insurance in State
Homeowners’ insurance is one of the most vital parts of homeownership, but in some cases it can cause great pain to your checkbook. A housing affordability study by SmartAsset ranks the cities with the most affordable homeowners’ insurance and Arkansas ranked among the top. The ranking was completed by applying a city’s average insurance rate to its median home value. See how Ark City compared:
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