In 1995, the U.S. Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended the permanent closure of Fort Chaffee. The federal government opted to lease 65,000 acres to the Arkansas Army National Guard to be used for training. The remaining 7,000+ acres were turned over to local communities for redevelopment. The Arkansas legislature formed the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority in 1997 to oversee the development of the land with the primary goals of returning the property to the tax roles, replacing the 700 jobs lost when Fort Chaffee closed, creating residential developments with quality of life and recreational attractions. A marketing and branding campaign was created for “Chaffee Crossing” in 2009 and a real estate agent has been retained to handle all land sales offers and transactions.
FCRA is dedicated to ensuring this great opportunity reaches its full potential through the execution of a Master Land Use Plan. They are conscientious stewards of this resource and will ensure that the public receives the full market potential for the property. To accomplish this, guidelines are required to enhance and perpetuate property values, to manage the timing of land sales to coincide with supply and demands in the market, and to schedule efficient expansion of the infrastructure. In addition to economic stewardship, the natural resources of the area must be conserved and the history of the area must be honored in the new community.
FCRA Board Members believe that:
- sustaining property values is a critical element of their stewardship
- each new building sets a standard or precedent for the buildings that will follow
- there is value in design and that design can be incorporated into a site or building in an affordable way
- design guidelines can establish a level of quality while still leaving room for creativity and expression
- design guidelines can ensure that this will become a community where parents will be proud to show their children where they work
Chaffee Crossing has become a community where buildings hold their value over time, and a place where the older may be more valuable than the new. This will be a community where builders can be assured that subsequent builders will honor the investment they have made.
FCRA is a quasi-governmental sunset agency that submits to an annual public audit. A nine-member board of directors approves or rejects land and building purchase offers and oversees budgeting and personnel issues. The board meets monthly on the third Thursday of each month.
Subcommittees of the board meet as needed throughout the year. These include:
- Real Estate Review Committee
- Budget Committee
- Personnel Committee
- An independent Design Review Committee is responsible for approval of all development plans before they are submitted to the respective City Planning Commissions of Fort Smith and Barling.
Once the independent auditors determine that the inventory of marketable land available for sale is depleted to the point that it can no longer sustain FCRA operations, the FCRA Board and its beneficiaries, the City of Fort Smith, the City of Barling and Sebastian County, must agree to dissolve the trust. All trust assets will then be allocated to the beneficiaries.