Community meeting held at Main Street Museum

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Mayor Wayne Wagner welcomes guests.

Moving Manila Forward organization held a community meeting Thursday evening at the Main Street Museum. Mayor Wayne Wagner spoke about the partnership working together to purchase the building which was turned into the Main Street Museum.

“I am looking forward to working with all of you,” Mayor Wagner said.

Ray Benson with the county extension service gave an update on how Moving Manila Forward got started several months ago and how the action teams will work on a variety of projects to improve Manila and attract more people to the area. He went on to explain Moving Manila Forward started through an effort of the Pilot's Association to see what was available through the University of Arkansas to improve the Manila Airport.

Representatives from each action team reported on their individual meetings sharing their ideas. The action teams include, Agriculture and Food; Aviation; Downtown Revitalization and Retail; Economic Development, Education and Infrastructure; and Quality of Life and Place.

Matt Noble spoke on behalf of the Quality of Life and Place team; Chris Cheadle talked on behalf of the Agriculture and Food Action Group; David Shedd represented the Downtown Revitalization team; Woody Townsend spoke for the Aviation Team; and Andrew Fleeman updated the group from the Economic Development, Education and Infrastructure Team.

Discussion was held on working together with high school students to help build a webpage to market what Manila has to offer.

Arkansas State Representative Johnny Rye spoke encouraging everyone to continue utilizing and building on what Manila has to offer. He also spoke about the importance of funding for the schools.

“Manila is going in a positive direction,” Rep. Rye said.

Dr. Mark Peterson, UofA professor of Community and Economic Development, was the guest speaker.

“Little Rock River Market was started by three people, writing on a napkin,” Dr. Peterson said.

He encouraged everyone to build on what is there.

“Your elected officials have knowledge and connections that can be beneficial,” he said.

He commented on statistics of growth with 31 new homes being built within a mile.

Dr. Peterson said architect Ed Levi volunteers his time and talent to help communities.

“When you get ready he will be here to help develop sketches,” Dr. Peterson said.

The group talked about action plans.

Kelli Listenbee with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission spoke to the group.

“I am an advocate for you and your committee for any state funding,” she said. “We can be a resource partner for you. At some point in the future AEDC may be able to help.”

The group talked about creating a logo for the city. Matt Noble suggested keeping it within the school colors and mascot.

“I am excited for Manila,” Fleeman said.

The next meeting will be Nov. 16.

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