The University of Central Arkansas selected the city of Alma as the 2017 Community Development Kick Start community.

Alma was selected through a competitive process of communities across the state seeking to work with the Community Development Institute at UCA.

“Alma stood out from other applicants because of the local and regional assets in the community. There is also a sense of excitement and a can-do spirit among local leaders. As we kick start a local planning process in Alma, we will bring in regional partners, such as Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority and the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District, to create a robust support network for Alma,” said Amy Whitehead, director of UCA’s Community Development Institute and the Center for Community and Economic Development.

As the 2017 Kick Start community, Alma will undergo a thorough assessment of the community’s challenges and opportunities, with recommendations on how to utilize local assets. Following a driving tour and high-level assessment during the first week of August, the community will receive up to nine months of strategic planning and community engagement assistance from UCA.

Community Development Kick Start is a cooperative program between UCA and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Breakthrough Solutions Program.

“The selection of Alma to be the Community Development Kick Start community for 2017 is a unique opportunity for our city,” said Alma Mayor Keith Greene. “Alma is truly the crossroads of America and continues to move forward each day. Our citizens are eager to see our steady growth continue and improve the quality of life in Alma.”

Previous Kick Start communities include Paris, Heber Springs and Lonoke. More information on the Kick Start initiative in these communities can be found at https://uca.edu/cdi/advanced-year/.

The Community Development Institute, established in 1987 at the University of Central Arkansas, trains community and economic development professionals from Arkansas and surrounding states. The complete CDI experience is a three-year training program, with one week of training per year. Participants move through the program curriculum in cohort and are exposed to a comprehensive, applied approach to the field of community and economic development.

For more information about CDI, visit uca.edu/cdi, or contact Shelby Fiegel at 501-450-5269 or sfiegel@uca.edu.