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Hot Spring County Conversations

Hot Spring County meeting attendees listen to speaker
Participants of Hot Spring County Conversations Discuss Local Issues

A Future Focused, Positive Community Development Initiative

On November 1, 2017 Judge Dennis Thornton presided over the first Hot Spring County Conversations Meeting at the College of the Ouachitas (COTO). 

Purpose of the meeting

The purpose of the meeting was twofold; to identify the needs of the county and local community leaders About 130 persons of all ages from around the county attended.

Sponsors of the HSC Conversations meetings included; UCA Community and Economic Development Institute (UCA CDI), Entergy, COTO, West Central Planning and Development District, Malvern Chamber of Commerce and the Hot Spring County Economic Development Corporation and the State of Arkansas Economic Development Commission.  UCA CDI was instrumental in the planning and execution of the meeting and collection and analysis of data.

Attendees discussed priority needs

Attendees discussed county needs and completed a Community Survey Form.  The survey asked for identification of key priorities for the future of HSC, the five most important topics for the county, words that best describe HSC, community representation and participant profiles (community, age, profession, etc.).  

Groups reported some of their answers to the whole meeting.  

The same survey form was then opened to the entire county for on-line participation for a two-week period.  A total of 205 survey responses from 25 different county communities were obtained from the meeting and the on-line participation.

Judge Thornton challenged the attendees to help move the county forward by providing ideas and leadership and described the HSC Conversations Process. One more county-wide meeting was announced for February 7, 2018.  The information gathered from both county-wide meetings will provide data and help develop a structure for community meetings to be held in each of the 5 county school districts. 

Data from both the County-wide meetings and the Community meetings will be combined to develop a multi-year strategic plan for Hot Spring County. 

Along the way, local and county leaders would identify and develop mechanisms for bringing accomplishing projects.

The ultimate goal is a long range, county-wide development plan that makes Hot Spring County an attractive place to live and work.

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Upcoming Local Meetings

Action Plan Unveiling- Tuesday, August 20th- College of the Ouachitas 1:00-2:30 PM.

Join Hot Spring County Conversations, local community leaders, and Governor Asa Hutchinson at the unveiling of HSCCAP.  The plan outlines key community and economic development goals based on citizen input and will guide Hot Spring County into the future.  This event is free and open to the public  Learn more at or  here.  Select this link to see the general program timeline.

View the completed Strategic Plan HSCC 10 Year Strategic Plan

Who took the survey?

The majority of survey takers represented the communities of Bismarck, Glen Rose and Malvern, but fourteen other communities also responded.  Most of the respondents were between the ages of 37 and 65 and were either business professionals, elected officials, or retirees, indicating significant diversity in the participant demographics.  About 123 individuals indicated an interest in volunteering as a community leader. Bismarck had the highest number of participants with 55, followed closely by Malvern with 51, and Glen Rose with 40. 
Community Representation

The Top Priorities for Hot Spring County Residents

UCA CDI compiled the data from all of the surveys and priorities voiced by county citizens were: Education & Workforce Development, followed closely by Job Creation, Youth & Family Activities & Services, also highly ranked was Entrepreneurship/Small Business Development, Housing & Real Estate, Parks & Recreation, and Public Safety. 

County Wide Top 10 Priorities

 District Map

To See How Individual Communities Ranked these Priorities, Please Select Your Community Below



Round Table Discussion

Step 2- Reporting the Priorities and Gaining Ideas for Solutions

The second HSC Conversations meeting was held on February 7th, 2018 at COTO. About 100 people were in attendance. Amy Whitehead of UCA CDI reported the results on the survey from the November 1st meeting. Judge Dennis Thornton, Sheriff Mike Cash, Mason Robinson (COTO Workforce Development) and Rick McClure (Hot Spring County EDC) updated attendees on ongoing initiatives in Hot Spring County.

Photo: Participants of Hot Spring County Conversations Discuss Local Issues


The Top Priorities for Hot Spring County Residents

The Top 10 Priorities were grouped into five main topics- Job Creation, Recreational & Family Activities, Public Health & Safety, Education & Workforce, Housing & Real Estate and Downtown Development. 

Main Topics

Those present were divided into groups.  Each group was asked to “reflect” on actions that might moving the county toward success in each of these areas.  Group facilitators recorded ideas on flip charts and each person recorded ideas in writing on “Reflections Sheets”.  Once again, UCA CDI recorded and analyzed all of the information gathered.

 Many terrific ideas were produced.  Select the Heading below to see the combined ideas from the county Meeting.  The number beside each idea represents the frequency of that particular response.



Hot Spring County would like to thank the partners of Hot Spring County Conversations

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