The University of Central Arkansas Center for Community and Economic Development partnered with community development organizations and other institutions to host the Community Development Summit April 24 in Harrison.

Partners included Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, North Arkansas College, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

More than 50 community leaders attended the event, representing 12 cities and 10 counties.

“Our goal was to equip those in attendance with the tools they need to make their communities successful,” director Amy Whitehead, said.

Community leaders in attendance heard from experts in the field across the state and had the opportunity to network with one another.

The summit covered topics like community branding and marketing, workforce development, grants, strategic planning and creative placemaking.

The event marked the culmination of UCA’s work to assist with the #BelieveBooneCounty initiative, a countywide strategic planning process that focused on community and economic development.

"I thought the Summit was a very good training event,” Jasper Mayor Jan Larson, said. “I am from a very small city and am always looking for opportunities to learn new ideas that can be adapted for our community. Today I heard some great ideas I hope to use in Jasper.”

Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards said that as an elected official, he took away information on how to make his community a great place to live, work and play.

“Centerton is one of the fastest growing cities in the state and I want to make sure that we are creating a future that continues to allow Centerton to grow and be successful,” he said. “Hearing from a variety of community and economic professionals across the state exposed me to initiatives I would not have known about otherwise.”

The event was provided free of charge to participants and made possible through the support of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

For more information, visit or call Shelby Fiegel at 501.450.5269.