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Poinsett County is second site for Powering Rural Development project

Oct. 10, 2008 -- An economic development initiative announced today in Harrisburg, Ark., is “tailor-made” for Poinsett County, according to County Judge-elect Charles Nix.

Arkansas State University’s College of Business and the Delta Center for Economic Development (DCED), in partnership with the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, announced the selection of Poinsett County as the second participant in the “Powering Rural Development” model project at a press conference Friday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m.

The “Powering Rural Development” initiative is designed to help rural areas of Arkansas build effective and sustainable county-wide economic development programs.

Poinsett County Judge-elect Charles Nix was joined by county mayors in the Poinsett County court house in Harrisburg Friday along with representatives from the DCED, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, and state representative Buddy Lovell for the announcement.

“We have about five or six cities close in size that have their own economic plans but haven’t come together,” said Nix. “This model helps us to become a unified front. Agriculture continues to be strong in Poinsett County, and we’re the largest rice producer in the state. However, industry has been shrinking, and we need to join to build industry.”

Kirkley Thomas, manager of economic development for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, (ECA) said, “The Electric Cooperatives have been involved in improving the quality of life for Arkansans through community and economic development for nearly seven decades.  It is a history we are proud of, and I am excited to be partnering with the ASU Delta Center for Economic Development as we strive to assist communities in realizing their potential and becoming even better places to live and work.”

The nine counties selected will receive valuable on-site training, technical assistance, and coaching in rural strategic planning, organizational development, collaboration, and project management, provided by economic development professionals from the DCED. The DCED, an arm of Arkansas State University’s College of Business, coordinates a wide range of economic development services including the Small Business Development Center, Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, a business incubator, and professional training services for businesses.

"We see great leadership in Poinsett County and are looking forward to working with them on development of a county-wide strategic plan,” said Alan McVey, executive director of the Delta Center for Economic Development. “Local commitment is critical to this effort and Poinsett County's economic future. Poinsett County has demonstrated commitment to this process and is ready to begin."

“We’re excited about the Poinsett County initiative,” said Jerry Smith, director of ASU’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center for Regional and Community Development. Together, the cities in Poinsett can achieve the critical mass necessary to support a strong and sustainable economic development program.”

Over the course of three years, a total of nine Arkansas counties will be selected to participate in the initiative through a competitive process.  Sharp County served as the inaugural county for the project in July.

For more information about the “Powering Rural Development in Poinsett County” initiative, contact Smith or McVey at (870) 972-3000 or visit for more information.



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