Thursday, May 4, 2017

Town on the rise

Knoxville, Ark., has grown by more than 500 in the last 47 years. In 1970, the Johnson County town was home to 202 people, by official Federal census. Estimated 2015 population was 746, that figure an increase of 15 from the 2010 census.

Johnson County is on a southwest corner of Northwest Arkansas. The county has been growing since 1970, after a four-decade decline. Before 2000, the county’s highest population was in 1920, when 21,062 people lived there. The 2010 official count was 22,781. The estimated 2015 population was 25,540.

Bill Doolin was born in Johnson County in 1858. He went on to found the Wild Bunch of train robbing and Hollywood fame. Doolin was killed by Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas in 1896 in Lawson, Oklahoma Territory. Doolin’s Wild Bunch did not include Kid Curry or the Sundance Kid.

Knoxville is about 95% white. About 9% of families and 12% of the overall population has income below the official Federal poverty line. The town is just a little west of I-40 and a few miles east of the Arkansas River. Women outnumber men by 4%. About 30% of employed men in Knoxville work in manufacturing, compared to a statewide average of around 18%. For employed women, the figures are 20% locally and 8% statewide.

Tornado activity is at normal for Arkansas, or 91% greater than overall U.S. average. An F4 tornado went through Knoxville on Feb. 5, 2008, killing 13 people, injuring 139 and causing $119 million in property damages.

Local government workers in 2012 were: four fulltime at total monthly salaries of $9,645, and 11 part-time employees, paid $8,826 each month.

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