CADDO VALLEY – In one of several meetings on Friday, the executive director of the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County met with the mayor and council members of Caddo Valley.
Paul Harvel, Euodias Goza, president of the EDCCC board, and Dr. Wesley Kluck, chairman of the Clark County Strategic Planning committee, met with officials in three towns on Friday. The first meeting was in Amity, followed by a visit to Gurdon and they ended the day’s meeting in Caddo Valley.
Goza told Mayor Alan Dillavou and members of Caddo Valley’s City Council and Advertising and Promotion Commission that the meeting was to explain what the EDCCC is trying to do in the county.
The meetings were Harvel’s idea, Goza said. He said Harvel has a strategy and a marketing plan for the county. “We have a great opportunity (for economic development) here in Clark County.”
Harvel said he wanted to go to the cities in the county and explain the regional development concept. “Across the country, economic development is known by regions,” he said. “Industries look at regions,” not cities or counties.
The name of a city in a regional name does not necessarily represent only that city, Harvel said. For example, the Metropolitan Little Rock Regional Alliance includes a much larger area than Little Rock. It also includes Conway, Cabot, Jacksonville and Pine Bluff.
The Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance, will not only include all of Clark County, but other cities and portions of other counties, he said. That will attract industries to the region.
Harvel said it was important for him to meet with officials in Caddo Valley to explain the concept. “I know your city is named Caddo Valley and we’re going to ask you to market (yourselves) under the name Arkadelphia.
“Arkadelphia is a marketing word” in the name, Harvel said, “not a location.”
The area of Interstate 30 and Highway 7, in Caddo Valley, will serve as the center of the region, Harvel said. The region will extend to about a 50-mile radius. He said he chose the area because he knows it is marketable. “Highway 7 contains some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.”
Not only does the area have the scenery, it also has DeGray Lake, the Ouachita Mountains, two universities and a state park.
Using tourism as a recruiting tool, Harvel presented two advertising concepts that have already been created. Both involve the educational opportunities in the area: “Graduate to good living in Arkadelphia,” and “Arkadelphia is a college town majoring in tourism.”
He said his office will be located at Ouachita Baptist University. The university is providing the space at no charge. The Alliance’s economic developer, Shawnie Carrier, will have offices in several locations around the county. One of Carrier’s offices will be in the Visitor’s Information Center at Caddo Valley. Harvel said he plans to ask the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for their help in establishing and maintaining the Visitor’s Center.
Harvel hopes to eventually see the construction of a new Economic Development Center that would house the EDCCC and the Chambers of Commerce.
The EDCCC has already signed a lease for office space in downtown Arkadelphia. Goza said the corporation will be trying to sublet that space until the lease has expired.