Poinsett County to participate in development efforts

Friday, September 7, 2012

POINSETT COUNTY -- A local steering committee of Poinsett County officials and leaders will participate in a strategic planning initiative during the week of Sept. 10 and county residents are invited to attend three town hall sessions throughout the county to voice opinions on local and regional opportunities.

The meetings and planning sessions are part of reNEW East Arkansas, a project designed to increase development opportunities and improve quality of life in eastern Arkansas. The East Arkansas Planning and Development District (EAPDD), which serves 12 counties in the region including Poinsett, launched the project earlier this year after successfully obtaining a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last fall.

A steering committee comprised of a cross-section of community leaders will gather for two full days on Monday, Sept. 10, and Thursday, Sept. 13, in Harrisburg for "Plan Week," a 13-hour process resulting in a comprehensive strategic plan for the county.

There will also be three meetings open to the entire community Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Harrisburg, Trumann and Lepanto. The "Voice of the Community" sessions will give citizens a chance to provide key input to steering committee members. The first session will be held Monday, Sept. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Center for the Arts in Harrisburg (located at the corner of Hwy. 1 South and South Street). The second will be held Tuesday, Sept. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Old Community House in Trumann (Main Street and Poinsett Street). A third and final "Voice of the Community" session will be held Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Building in Lepanto (205 Alexander Street).

"This is an important opportunity for Poinsett County," said Poinsett County Judge Charles Nix. "Plan Week and the 'Voice of Community' sessions will help us move forward and prepare us to grow and be a more livable community. This planning will be one of the first steps of an on-going process to implement strategies identified throughout the week. We are excited about partnering with East Arkansas Planning and Development District on this crucial project."

Melissa Rivers, executive director of EAPDD, said, "This grant supports local community planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic development, transportation and infrastructure investments. This project will assist our communities and the region in addressing challenges that are inter-related but are often not addressed comprehensively including community competitiveness and revitalization; access to jobs; education, and services; energy and other resource conservation; and environmental impact."

EAPDD is a non-profit, regional planning and development agency, serving a 12-county area of East Arkansas. The District's purpose is to promote and support the economic development of the region. It does this by providing technical assistance to the cities, counties, businesses, and other development organizations in the area, and by networking extensively with state and federal resource agencies.

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