Baxter County economic development action plan to launch May 21
By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
May 17, 2019
- Baxter County Forward to outline goals and strategies for economic development
- Project is collaboration between Baxter Co. stakeholders and Division of Ag
- Contact the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce at 870-425-5111 for event information
(Newsrooms: Sheid and Hillrey in par. 7 are cq)
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MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. – Community leaders in Mountain Home will launch the Baxter County Forward Blueprint and Action Plan at Arkansas State University on Tuesday, May 21.
The economic development plan, several months in the making, is a collaborative effort between Baxter County community leaders and the Community and Economic Development Department of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Baxter County Forward was developed through the Breakthrough Solutions program, which the Division of Agriculture uses to help communities throughout the state identify and capitalize on their unique assets, and enjoy long-term success by generating and attracting resources.
Like most areas of Arkansas, Baxter County is predominantly rural. While the area’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation resources attract visitors throughout the year, urbanization and other forces are drawing its residents away.
In 2018, Baxter County Forward conducted a community survey, asking respondents throughout the community to prioritize critical issues and opportunities within the county. The top three issues included drug abuse and crime, higher wage job recruitment and youth and family activities. Based on the top 10 priorities, Baxter County Forward formed seven action teams to address issues ranging from business and industry, drugs, education, tourism and more; each team developed both short- and long-term goals and strategies for achieving them.
Mark Peterson, director for the Community and Economic Development Department, said Tuesday’s public launch represents an important, early milestone in Baxter County’s efforts to revitalize its rural economies.
"Congratulations to the community leaders of Mountain Home and Baxter County, as they launch this Baxter County Forward Action Plan,” Peterson said. “It represents significant involvement from the community, and presents strategic direction and action steps to ensure that Baxter County will be even more vibrant and sustainable in the future. The best part is that they are already taking action."
Interested residents are invited to attend Tuesday’s launch, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the Sheid Building on the ASU Mountain Home campus. Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams, Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass, and representatives of ASU, the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce and others will offer remarks.
Rick Cartwright, Associate Vice President for Agriculture-Extension will speak about the role of land grant universities in community and economic development, and Jim Dailey, Arkansas Tourism Director, will speak about tourism development opportunities in the 21st century.
For more information, contact the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce, 870-425-5111.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service