contributed by Joy Cressler
Since the start of World War II, Fort Chaffee served as a military base, training soldiers on its 72,000 acres for service to their country. In 1997, President Bill Clinton decommissioned many military bases around the country and Fort Chaffee met the criterion for inactivity. Fort Chaffee was officially laid aside by the U.S. Army and 66,000 acres was transferred to the Arkansas National Guard to be used as the Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center. The remaining 6,000 acres was declared a surplus and donated to the community and its leaders.
The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority was established to develop a set of recommendations for reutilization and development of the 6,000 acres, including removal or disposal of more than 600 World War II-era temporary wood frame buildings comprising about 2 million square feet of floor space. The redevelopment property is called Chaffee Crossing and its goal is to “create an attractive, upscale development that includes sound infrastructure, quality housing, recreational and community facilities, retail establishments and businesses that provide above–average paying jobs.”
The Authority lists as its two ongoing objectives:
- To optimize all available resources to attract quality developers to Chaffee Crossing by utilizing the realtor, regional chamber of commerce & Arkansas Economic Development Commission to market Chaffee Crossing property.
- To develop and promote Chaffee Crossing’s historic and recreational facilities by working with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, the city of Fort Smith, the River Valley Botanical Gardens task force and FCRA board to finalize plans for location of the Botanical Gardens.
Plans also include:
- Discussions with the Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society to establish a permanent location
- The addition of bike trails in collaboration with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
- Possible equestrian trails
To learn more about the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, browse our FCRA articles and visit the FCRA website. For more information about real estate in Chaffee Crossing and surrounding areas, contact Joe Craine and the team at Referral Real Estate.