Five Arkansas communities will receive citizen engagement and technical assistance training as part of the Community Catalyst program. One eastern Arkansas town has already been chosen to serve as the pilot for the program.
The University of Central Arkansas Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) and Entergy Arkansas are partnering on the Community Catalyst program, which aims to develop actionable community goals as part of a strategic economic development framework. During the program, communities will use Strategic Doing, a community development tool that is geared toward small goals as part of a community’s transformation plans.
Wynne has been selected to serve as the pilot city for the Community Catalyst program. According to a CCED release, the eastern Arkansas city was selected on the basis of its “strong leadership, passionate citizens and potential to be a break-out community in the state of Arkansas.”
“We know there are a lot of community leaders who are looking for just the right vehicle to help propel their communities forward, so this initiative should be a great opportunity for those selected to take some important steps forward. UCA has the right team and tools in place, and Wynne is primed to go,” Danny Games, director of business and economic development for Entergy Arkansas, said in a statement.
As part of the program, the five cities/towns selected for the Community Catalyst program will participate in an initial planning meeting and community survey to assess the needs and strengths of the community, followed by a brainstorming session with community leaders.
Each city will receive a $1,000 grant that is earmarked for a development project or event. Entergy Arkansas is fully funding the Community Catalyst program.
Community leaders will receive coaching throughout the year with assistance provided for best practices and any necessary follow-up.
Cross County Chamber of Commerce and Wynne Economic Development Corporation CEO Cody Slater says that Wynne is on the cusp of great things but has yet to capitalize on its potential. He says the Community Catalyst program will help realize the town’s possibilities.
“Our community has always felt that Wynne has huge potential but we’ve struggled to create a pathway of how to realize that potential,” Slater says.. “The Community Catalyst program is helping to create the community partnerships necessary to really elevate Wynne to the next level. We are very thankful that UCA and Entergy has selected us for this opportunity. We’re very much looking forward to completing the program and seeing what our community can achieve.”
Image courtesy of Wynne City Hall Facebook page