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Past Projects

Past Projects

Community Development Kick Start – Sheridan, AR

The CDI 2018 Advanced Year class began working with Sheridan, AR during the first week of August 2018. The class of economic and community development experts assessed the city through an online assessment, research-based assessment, driving tour, and speaking with community leaders and citizens. At the end of the week, the class presented their findings, observations, and “golden nuggets” to the community.

UCA’s Center for Community and Economic Development and U of A’s Cooperative Extension Service assisted Sheridan in the creation of a strategic action plan. View the plan here:

Sheridan is the fifth Kick Start community. Other Kick Start communities include: Paris, Heber Springs, Lonoke, and Alma.

Hot Spring County Conversations

Hot Spring County Conversations (HSC Conversations) is a future-focused, positive community development initiative. The goal of HSC Conversations was to create a grassroots, citizen-led effort to develop a county-wide strategic action plan. The Center worked with HSC Conversations from November 2017 to February 2019 to engage citizens from across the county through its five school district regions. The HSC Conversations Action Plan was unveiled on August 20, 2019. Read the Action Plan in its entirety here:

Mitchellville SHIP 

In the summer of 2018, Mayor Carl Lee Griswold of Mitchellville, a small rural area in Southeast Arkansas, began searching for a way to change his community and reached out to University of Central Arkansas’s Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED). CCED partnered with The City of Hope Outreach (CoHO) to help make Griswold’s vision a reality. CoHO, a nonprofit based in Conway, facilitated the creation of the Mitchellville Self Help Improvement Program (SHIP). SHIP hosts city-wide meetings to hear concerns of the constituents, conducts surveys, and engages in project development to solve many of the community’s most pressing tasks. In addition to helping establish the nonprofit organization, CoHO offered advice for community engagement, training sessions for board members, and strategic planning. At the trainings, CoHO offered sessions on grant basics, program development, and fundraising strategies. CoHO also helped facilitate community meetings to better understand community challenges.

Searcy County Branding Initiative

The Center for Community and Economic Development partnered with the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce to unveil a new brand and logo for the county. The branding project between UCA and the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce was initiated following feedback from a UCA marketing course in which students advised Searcy County chamber officials on their branding and marketing efforts. The logo showcases the Ozark Mountains, the Buffalo River and a multitude of other waterways in the County. It’s topped by a sun emitting rays, which speaks to the energy and commitment found within the county by its people. The tagline “Always in Season” reinforces the idea that there is always something going on in Searcy County. The new brand and logo will be a tool that citizens and leaders can rally behind for future business recruitment and tourism efforts.

Community Development Kick Start – Alma, AR

The Center assisted the city of Alma in the creation of their strategic action plan. You can view the plan here:

Business Survey – Levy (North Little Rock, AR)

The Levy Business Association contracted the Center to create and disseminate a business survey to better help the association understand the local business environment. The survey analyzed Levy businesses and identified opportunities to better assist local business owners and create training opportunities. The survey results also identified opportunities to attract new businesses.