University of Central Arkansas President Tom Courtway and Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director Mike Preston announced the new Technical Assistance Program for Arkansas Mayors today, Sept. 23, at the Arkansas State Capitol.
Arkansas Rep. Fredrick Love (D-Little Rock), who helped to facilitate collaboration to establish the program, joined the two in making the announcement.
“In these rural areas, the mayors are working very hard to help their citizens, but due to limited resources they may lack the means to secure grants and other funding,” Courtway said. “They have unmet needs. Through the grants being announced today, and through the efforts of the staff of UCA’s Division of Outreach and Community Engagement, help is on the way. With additional training, education and expertise, we believe many rural areas in our state will see improvements in all levels of service and economic development.”
Preston said, “Rural communities are essential to the economic well-being of our state. AEDC is proud to be a part of this collaborative effort that will empower our mayors and provide them with the resources they need to improve quality of life for their residents.”
The program will provide education and training to Arkansas mayors, particularly in rural areas and the Delta region, about various state and federal resources available to address affordable housing and non-housing community development needs.
UCA’s Division of Outreach and Community Engagement is the principal organizer of the program, with AEDC as a major partner.
Other partners include the Delta Regional Authority, Arkansas Development and Finance Authority, Arkansas Community Foundation, Arkansas Northeastern College, East Arkansas Community College and UCA’s Center for Community and Economic Development.
“I am elated that UCA has taken the charge to develop a program to help address the community and economic development needs of the mayors and other city leaders of rural towns in Arkansas,” Love said.
“As a state legislator, it makes me proud to see the level of collaboration and partnerships with various nonprofit organizations, and local, state and regional agencies to make this program a reality. This is the type of collaboration that it takes to really transform the condition of rural Arkansas, but in order to keep the momentum up for this type of change, we need everyone to step up and contribute to making this a sustainable program that mayors and other local elected officials can depend upon for years to come.”