Letter to the Editor

The future of Holiday Island

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Have you given any thought to what Holiday Island will be like in 10 or 15 years?

It’s easy to sit back and congratulate ourselves on finding such a pleasant place to live and enjoy the golf, fishing, boating, hiking, churches, music and theater, etc.  A community garden is even available now. Most of us live on paved roads and enjoy the benefits of utilities and city sewers in place when we buy or build a home. But as we age or decide to move closer to family, will there be a market for our homes?

When potential buyers visit Holiday Island, will they find a still-vibrant community with well-maintained roads, good water in the tap, an attractive clubhouse, an inviting golf course?  And can we expect a fair price for the homes we have built and cared for?

Tom Dees, who has driven the development and marketing of Holiday Island since the 1980s, is trying to step back and retire — a reasonable goal.  Since HISID (Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District) has a very limited budget for marketing and advertising and the Holiday Island Hospitality Association (HIHA) charter does not allow them to spend money on advertising, a new organization has formed — Holiday Islanders Promoting Residential Ownership.

We’re all aware of the economic growth of Northwest Arkansas, especially Benton and Washington counties.  An online search resulted in data showing that January 2017 residential sales there showed a price increase of 14 percent over January 2016 (reported by Eric Harris, agent with Crawford Real Estate Associates in Lowell). We wish that were true here in Holiday Island.  According to the Northwest Arkansas Board of Realtors, the average selling price for 43 Holiday Island properties sold so far in 2017 is up only 1 percent over the 73 properties sold in 2016.

Commuting from Holiday Island to Benton or Washington County is quite doable for people who are still working, and working from home on computers is now an option for many. People living and working in those counties might well find Holiday Island a pleasant and affordable place when they are ready to retire. More property owners and residents paying assessments means that roads and other amenities can be maintained and improved.

So what is being done to bring in these potential neighbors to Holiday Island?  A group of concerned residents came together and elected Donna Putnam as president, Dane Paulsen, vice president/membership, Terri Hegna, secretary and Vern Anderson, treasurer. HIPRO has a website, visitholidayisland.com, and a Facebook page, visitholidayisland, with a number of photos.

People visiting our Facebook page have an opportunity to win various prizes donated by local businesses. The first Facebook promotion reached 7,799 people ages 25-60 with an interest in golf, fishing and/or real estate at a cost of only $44. Over 400 people have responded by asking directions to Holiday Island.

A marketing committee, including several people with professional experience in media, has been formed to research and evaluate where our funds can best be spent to bring future homeowners to Holiday Island. One place we’d like to advertise is the national magazine

Where To Retire, which has brought good results in the past.  Another is the Branson Visitor’s Guide. Those ads don’t come cheaply. Maybe you have some good ideas and would like to be involved with the marketing committee. Donna Putnam would love to hear from you;

contact her at p15497@aol.com or telephone 479 270 1393 and speak to one of the volunteers who monitor that phone.

In about a year’s time HIPRO has built membership to roughly 150 Holiday Islanders. Yearly dues of $25 per person or $50 per family are what make the advertising and promotion possible. If you have questions, contact HIPRO at hiproarkansas@gmail.com or check out the website at www.visitholidayisland.com.  If you would like to help ensure the future value of your home and join HIPRO, mail your check (along with your email address) to Vern Anderson, treasurer, at 60 Shields Spur, Holiday Island AR 72631.

— Carol Ann Schneider