On Friday, June 18 a group of people representing the Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway will arrive in Paris to gather information in preparation for writing a strategic plan the city can use to take advantage of economic development opportunities.
"They are going to be here between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and give us details on what information they are going to need," according to Dr. Lee Lane of Paris, the head of the Paris Economic Development Council.
The group does this for one city each year in the state. Paris was chosen over Pine Bluff and Morrilton.
"We filled out the paperwork for the program and then they did a phone interview with myself, Mayor Daniel Rogers and Chester Koprovic," Lane said. Koprovic is a member of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
"They evaluate everything and make a selection," Lane said. "The said they picked us because we had the most enthusiasm. I was very happy they decided our enthusiasm was the reason they picked us."
When they arrive in Paris next week, the group will first meet in the City Council meeting room at the Municipal Building and then take a tour. They will see various neighborhoods, buildings around Courthouse Square, Cloyes Gear and Products, Inc, Stark Manufacturing, a vacant industrial building on South Elm Street, the Logan County Museum, the Coal Miners Museum and Memorial, Mercy Hospital and Cooper Clinic, Paris Middle School, the Boys and Girls Club of Paris, Paris High School, city parks and the city’s industrial park, located next to the Paris-Subiaco Municipal Airport.
After that, they gather back at the Municipal Building for a working lunch. The group will then study information and present a report to the community on Aug. 4-6.
"It’s a free strategic plan for us," Lane said.
The group coming to Paris have been in the Community Development Institute for three years and doing studies like the one planned for Paris is considered graduate work, Lane said.
The program accepts people from communities in Arkansas for the three year study.