Home to the only C-130 training base for the U.S. Department of Defense, Jacksonville is an important part of the nation’s military force, but the city of about 29,000 possesses a family-friendly atmosphere that attracts people from everywhere.
Less than 30 minutes from downtown Little Rock, across the Arkansas River, Jacksonville offers affordable housing (according to Zillow, the median list price for a home is $130,000) and a tight-knit community environment.
The 6,128-acre air base is home to more than 6,000 active duty military personnel and civilian employees and their families. The health care, education and manufacturing industries are three more of the city’s largest employers. Honoring present and past military service is a point of pride here, as Jacksonville is also home to the Jacksonville Military History Museum. The museum chronicles the town's military history dating back from the Civil War to Vietnam. Jacksonville was also the location of the Battle of Reed's Bridge. Placards around the battle location tell the story of a skirmish that was fought during 1863 as Union soldiers attempted to move south while Confederate troops tried to protect the capitol.
Attractions like Splash Zone and Dupree Park (one of Jacksonville’s 13 parks) are popular spots for the locals. Athletic and aerobic classes entice athletes to the city’s 56,000-SF community center, whose facilities include a heated six-lane pool, two hardwood basketball/volleyball courts, an aerobics classroom, a walking track, cardiovascular equipment and two racquetball courts.
The last weekend in September is the city’s annual 2-day FestiVille event at Dupree Park, featuring carnival rides and games, live entertainment, local vendors, a petting zoo and more. In the spring, Jacksonville’s Fun @ Five Points street festival draws residents to the downtown district for food trucks, a kids corner, wing-eating contest and fun for the whole family.
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