UCA picks Lonoke for program

The Community Development Institute (CDI) at the University of Central Arkansas has chosen the City of Lonoke as the 2016 Advanced Year Community.

As the 2016 Advance Year Community, Lonoke will undergo a thorough assessment of the community’s challenges and opportunities, with recommendations on how to utilize local assets.

“I feel honored that Lonoke was selected as the 2016 Community Development Institute’s Advanced Year Community. Being selected will allow the City of Lonoke to get a fresh perspective on how to make our community grow economically and be a better place to live, as well as making the most of the assets that are currently in place,” said Lonoke Mayor Wayne McGee. “This will also allow our businesses and citizens input on things that they would like to see in our town. I know that this program will help to give us the insight needed to move Lonoke forward.”

CDI Advanced Year is a cooperative program between UCA and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Office Breakthrough Solutions Program. This class of CDI graduates will work together to implement community and economic development principles in a real-world setting by conducting an online assessment of the community and a day interacting with citizens and community leaders. This two-day training culminates with a community stakeholder meeting to address the most pressing issues and opportunities.

Following this initial visit, UCA and the Cooperative Extension will provide nine months of strategic planning technical assistance to the city.

“The word ‘hope’ is so appropriate for Lonoke, because we are a very hopeful community, and one in which there is a climate of unity and connection. Moving forward, as our community stakeholders undertake initiatives with an emphasis on residential, retail, industrial and downtown development, we anticipate that the CDI strategic plan will serve as a capable ‘road map’ and tool for casting vision and building consensus,” said Ryan Biles, Lonoke Advanced Year Committee Leader.

CDI previously conducted the program in Paris (2014) and Heber Springs (2015).

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 (August 1-5, 2016).

For more information about CDI, visit uca.edu/cdi or contact Josh Markham at 501.450.3460 or [email protected].