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Citizens urged to attend strategic planning session
By Donna Hilton
The first of several meetings to create a Strategic Development Plan for Arkadelphia and Clark County will be Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Walker Conference Center at Ouachita Baptist University.
All citizens of Clark County are urged to attend, said Dr. Wesley Kluck, cochairman of the planning process. The development of a plan is a joint project by Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University. Kluck’s co-chairman on the project is Dr. Alan Wright, a business professor at HSU.
After receiving input from the public, a plan will be developed to use available resources to not only plan for growth, but determine the appropriate actions to be taken to spur that growth in the county.
The development of the plan is expected to take approximately one year, Kluck said, and will be different from that of other similar groups, Kluck said. “This group will be proactive, not reactive.”
By creating an SDP through the proposed method, everyone in the county can provide information and make suggestions. In some previous plans, only city and county officials or business owners were asked to participate. The process will allow every resident of the county to provide input.
The process will be interactive from the first meeting, he said. After a brief description of the process is presented, the meeting will be open for comments regarding the needs in the county. “People won’t be just sitting there listening. They will be asked to participate.”
The conference center has room for approximately 700 people, with more space in adjoining rooms, Kluck said. “I want to have the room full and have people standing along the walls. I would much rather have to open another space” due to a large crowd than to
have only a few citizens show up.
Once a plan is completed, it will offer leaders a blueprint of the wishes and needs of the county’s residents and answers to meet those wishes and needs, Wright said. He compared the plan to a road map: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know which road to take.”
In addition to community meetings, the plan’s chairmen are creating a website as another means to gather information. The site will be attached to either Henderson’s or Ouachita’s website, Kluck said. It will provide information about the planning process and allow people to comment on-line.
More information about the meeting will be announced before Tuesday. “We will have announcements at churches and civic clubs,” Kluck said. The Walker Conference Center is on the ground floor of the commons building at OBU. Signs will direct people to the
meeting room, he said.