Moving Manila Forward committee planning community meeting
The newly formed Moving Manila Forward committee will host a community meeting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, at the Manila Airport Center. Committee member Andrew Fleeman encourages citizens to join the meeting and share ideas. City officials, state representatives, state senators and other county officials will be attending the event.
The committee is working with representatives of the Breakthrough Solutions program through the University of Arkansas Extension office. This program is built to help economic developments of small towns and give a central hub for groups like Moving Manila Forward to help with ideas for the community resources to help the community.
A survey was recently taken with 223 responding to the short list of questions. The survey was a way to hear what citizens consider priorities.
“We are very excited about the number of responses we received,” Fleeman said. “Having around seven percent of the population of Manila answer the survey is a good sign the community is interested in making Manila an even better place to live.”
Downtown area was a large focus listed on the survey as priority. Economic development within the community was another priority. People want to see businesses come to Manila. Also, the airport is a vital hub for people from all around the U.S.
Moving Manila Forward Committee joined with the Museum Committee to host the first Music at the Museum event in July, which was well received with a full house. They hope to continue the event every third Thursday with local talent. Plans are to continue with special events at the Museum.
“Downtown is where we really want to focus our efforts,” Fleeman said. “A city thrives when it has a downtown that is active and growing. We plan to schedule more events and hope to be able to spruce up downtown with updates to the buildings and sidewalks.”
The main goal of the group is to improve the quality of life in Manila for all citizens. Whether it be community events, building restoration, or even signage around town, the goal is to make Manila the best it can be and a place people want to live.
“Our goal is to focus on the millennial generation and start to attract young people who are wanting to move to a small town, have things to do in our own community and enjoy life with all of the assets small towns have to offer,” Fleeman said. “We have a lot of good things to offer. Big Lake is just one of our largest assets.”