The setting was more “party” than planning, Tuesday evening at the Captain Henderson House as leaders of the Clark County Strategic Planning Committee updated community residents on the progress of the process.

The “real work” of the Clark County Strategic Planning Committee will begin in earnest in January, said Ed Bee, president of Taimerica Inc., the firm hired to facilitate the development of the plan. “The next thing will be the visioning process in January,” he said. “We’ll need a broad cross-section of the community to be involved. That’s where the different committees will come into play.”
The strategic planning process is aimed at seven different areas: Education, healthcare, housing, economic development, tourism, leadership, and funding and foundation advisors.

Attendance at the meetings has dwindled over the months. When the meetings began last summer, hundreds of people attended. As the monthly meetings continued, attendance dropped off.

“We’ve been talking for all these months,” said Dr. Alan Wright, one of the co-chairman of the committee.

Members of the community are ready to see a workable plan that can be put into action, he said.

Bee agreed, saying participation is “critical” to creating and implementing a plan that can work.

Beginning in January, the community-wide meetings will be longer and more detailed. “We’ll have two-hour meetings that include break-out sessions,” Bee said. “In those, we’ll find out what needs to stay the same and what needs to be done differently.”

In February, the committee will begin to prioritize ideas. “We need to decide on the five or six things that can be done in the next five years that will make a difference,” Bee said.

Dr. Wesley Kluck, co-chairman of the committee, announced the winners of the contest to design a logo for the CCSP.

The contest was open to students at both Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist universities. The winner was April Sellers, who said her goal was to design a simple logo to demonstrate progress and growth. She received $250 for first place for her drawing of a road with progressively larger trees.

“We looked at them all very carefully,” Kluck said. “Since you don’t normally see a logo full-size, we reduced them down to see which ones were still recognizable and this one popped out every time,” he said. Cash prizes were also awarded to second, third and fourth-place winners.