Marianna/Lee County Chamber of Commerce
About Crossroads Coalition
Crossroads Coalition is an eight county, state-approved Regional Economic Development Partnership working to
cultivate opportunities for growth and progress in the East Arkansas Delta. Crossroads Coalition counties include Crittenden, Cross,
Lee, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, St. Francis and Woodruff.
The mission of the Crossroads Coalition is to promote broad-based development through education & workforce development, community development, leadership development and economic development.
The vision of the Crossroads Coalition is to be a catalyst for continuing improvement of prosperity, opportunity, and other quality of life considerations in the region.
The Crossroads Coalition is working to implement strategies identified in the Regional Strategic Blueprint (May 2009) to create a more competitive economic environment in the East Arkansas Delta.
For more information about the Crossroads Coalition or to find out how you can get involved, please visit our website or contact one of our offices:
Wynne Office - Technology Center for the Delta
Elizabeth Mills - Director of Internal Affairs
West Memphis Office - Mid-South Community College
Kelly Freeland - Director of Programs & Development
Heather Maxwell - Executive Director
August 17, 2012
VISION AND PLANNING PAY OFF FOR EIGHT COUNTY DELTA REGION
Crossroads Coalition earns state approval, receives two grant awards
Crossroads Coalition Executive Director, Heather Maxwell; Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman, Chris Masingill; Crossroads Coalition Chairman, John Geelan
Crossroads Coalition Executive Director Heather Maxwell, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, and Crossroads Coalition Chairman John Geelan
A large crowd of local and regional dignitaries and community leaders attended the announcement last Monday of a $66,430 grant awarded to the Crossroads Coalition Regional Economic Development Partnership. The funding accompanies the Crossroads Coalition's state approval under the Regional Economic Development Partnership Act - Act 895 of 2011 - making Crossroads Coalition one of only two state-approved Regional Economic Development Partnerships under the recent law.
The coalition is made up of Crittenden, Cross, Lee, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, St. Francis and Woodruff counties. The announcement was held at the East Arkansas Community College (EACC) Fine Arts Center in Forrest City, Arkansas.
Denisa Pennington, Director of Community Development for Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) made the announcement to the crowd and emphasized the importance of regional development and ongoing support for regional partnerships, "I do believe Crossroads Coalition is one of the first regions to get established. You've gone through the fire and still running strong," said Pennington. "You have a strategic plan, you've set forth some priorities, and now you are reaping the benefits from that. AEDC is very pleased to announce a $66,430 grant to the Crossroads Coalition for regional economic development marketing and promotion. Now, we look forward to seeing what you will achieve with this funding."
Dr. Coy Grace, President of East Arkansas Community College, welcomed guests and spoke of his involvement with the coalition, "My involvement with the coalition goes back 10-plus years. It has been a wonderful thing to encourage regional economic development efforts and to see Crossroads Coalition grow. It will be interesting to see where we will be ten years from now and I hope today's announcement will be something that can springboard the region forward."
State Representative Jerry Brown emphasized the legislative intent of Act 895, reading directly from the Bill, "The General Assembly finds that the support of regional economic development efforts is vital to the economic health and vitality of the state. In order to increase the income of Arkansans... and to compete more effectively for new business and jobs, the state must invest in innovative economic development strategies." Brown went on to read, "New economic development strategies will meet the special needs and take advantage of the extraordinary assets of particular regions of the state..."
State Representative Marshal Wright underscored the collaboration among the region's legislators in supporting this and other legislation impacting the region, "With a shrinking population base, our communities are counting on us now more than ever to work together to support policies and legislation that address the critical needs across the region."
John Geelan, Crossroads Coalition Chairman, shared the coalition's plans for the grant funds, "With collaboration from local communities, counties and regional resource partners, funding received through the REDP Act will be used to craft and implement a comprehensive economic development marketing plan for the region. Plans include refreshed regional branding and a refreshed regional website; the launch of a regional Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) program and local BRE team training; the development of regional marketing materials; the production of regional marketing video highlighting local and regional assets; and participation in national economic development trade shows and marketing events." Geelan added, "One of the things I am most excited about is the opportunity to host site consultant tours and show consultants in person that East Arkansas is home to some of the best economic development assets anywhere in the country."
Crossroads Coalition Executive Director, Heather Maxwell briefly reviewed some of the coalition's current programs focused on getting the region 'market-ready'.
Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Federal Co-Chairman, Chris Masingill delivered a passionate address to the crowd that culminated with a surprise announcement of a $50,000 matching grant from the DRA to support implementation of the coalition's programs and ongoing work in the region. Masingill pledged to work with Governor Beebe to support ongoing funding for regional economic development efforts in the Delta. "This work you're doing is very possibly what will revive the Arkansas Delta region's economy. It's a model for the state. It's a model for the nation."
Former State Representative and Crossroads Coalition founding member, LeRoy Dangeau closed the event by saying, "This could be the thing that fires the rocket and really gets us off the ground. I think this may be the key."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelly Freeland
Director of Programs & Development
CROSSROADS COALITION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SELECTED FOR DELTA LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE EXECUTIVE ACADEMY
WYNNE- Crossroads Coalition Executive Director Heather Maxwell is one of seven Arkansans recently selected for the Delta Leadership Institute’s eighth Executive Academy class. Joining Maxwell from Arkansas are Katherine Holmstrom of Little Rock, Amy Fetcher of Sherwood, Gwen Hood of West Memphis, Iverson Jackson of Little Rock, Sheena Lewis of Little Rock and DuShun Scarbrough of Little Rock.
Created and funded by the Delta Regional Authority to foster regional collaboration, and leadership capacity building, the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy engages leaders to improve the economic and social viability of the Delta. The eight states and 252 counties and parishes served by the Delta Regional Authority make up one of the most distressed areas of the country, each facing profound challenges in health, education and infrastructure.
The eighth Executive Academy class is comprised of 48 community leaders from the eight state Delta region chosen by their respective governor and Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. Participants join a diverse group of community leaders in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors business, as well as government, education, civic, and faith community leaders. The Executive Academy is a year-long leadership training program consisting of six sessions in cities across the region. Training sessions are designed to equip participants with the skills and resources necessary to improve decisions made by local leaders and find effective solutions to address the problems of our region.
The Academy is a competency-based program. Throughout the year, participants will be asked to demonstrate mastery of specific knowledge, strategies and tools believed to be important to improve the economic and social viability of the Delta.
The first session of the program was held in St. Louis, MO, and served as an introduction to the Delta Regional Authority and the major issues that affect the lives of people in the Delta region. Participants also met with regional economists and the US Army Corps of Engineers. In future sessions, the curriculum will include case studies and activities tackling the region's biggest problems. The DLI Executive Academy is coordinated by The University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies. The second session will be held in December in New Orleans.
The Crossroads Coalition is the eight-county Regional Economic Development Partnership serving Crittenden, Cross, Lee, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, St. Francis and Woodruff counties in Eastern Arkansas. Maxwell’s selection for the Executive Academy comes only months after the announcement of the Crossroads Coalition being named one of only two state-approved Regional Economic Development Partnerships. Maxwell attributes both announcements to the vision, commitment and hard work of the Coalition’s founders, members and partners, “I have the privilege of working alongside and learning from some of our State’s most innovative and dedicated leaders every day. I am honored to be named by Governor Beebe to represent the State of Arkansas at the Executive Academy, and I am truly grateful for this opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to collaborate with our regional partners to address the most pressing issues facing our region.” Maxwell added, “The momentum we’ve seen this year, both as an organization and a region, can only be credited to our founders, members and partners who are committed to working together to improve our economy, change lives and reshape our children’s futures.”
For more information about Crossroads Coalition programs, membership and events, visit www.crossroadscoalition.org or call (870) 238-5300. For more information about the Delta Regional Authority or Delta Leadership Institute, please visit www.dra.gov.
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