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ASU, city of Dyess, to co-host town meeting June 24 to discuss redevelopment

June 8, 2010 -- Arkansas State University and the city of Dyess will co-host a town meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 24, to discuss a proposed Dyess Colony master redevelopment plan. The meeting will be held in the Dyess Community Center Auditorium, Arkansas Highway 297, in Dyess.

The university was directed by the 2009 Arkansas General Assembly to work with the city of Dyess to examine the feasibility of developing the heritage tourism potential of the community, one of the earliest cooperative agricultural resettlement projects during the Great Depression.

National attention was focused on the Dyess Colony when Eleanor Roosevelt visited in 1936, but more recently it has attracted attention as the boyhood home of Johnny Cash.

Results of the year-long study, conducted for Arkansas State University by John Milner Associates of West Chester, Pennsylvania, will be presented for comments and questions from anyone with an interest in the former Dyess Colony or the community’s association with Johnny Cash.

“We believe there are some excellent recommendations in the plan,” commented Dr. Ruth Hawkins, director of Arkansas Heritage SITES at Arkansas State University. “But it is also very ambitious and will require commitment from a number of partners throughout the region and the state, and even the nation, to make it all happen.”

As a first step toward implementing the plan, Arkansas State University has recently received a $337,888 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council for Phase One of the restoration of the historic federal Administration Building and adjacent theatre fašade in the Dyess Colony circle. Upon completion of restoration, the building will house Dyess municipal offices, along with exhibits developed in conjunction with the Heritage Studies PhD program at Arkansas State University.

For additional information, contact Dr. Ruth Hawkins(, director, Arkansas Heritage SITES, at (870) 972-2803.

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