Next week city officials and community leaders will meet with Mike Gerfen and Randall Wright with the University of Little Rock Arkansas Economic Development institute as they present “ACCESS, Smarter Solutions. Stronger Communities”.
According to Greenwood Mayor Doug Kinslow ACCESS is a grassroots, adaptable community assessment program that assists communities is developing sustainable and innovative approaches to economic growth and a better quality of life.
The meeting with city leaders is the first phase in the process with the second phase being a community survey that will be developed by AEDI that will provide an economic and demographic snapshot of Greenwood.
Phase three will be to make a plan to identify goals and formulated a development plan.
Phase four is implementation.
“We did something similar to this a couple of years ago through the University of Central Arkansas,” said Kinslow. “We are participating because it is free at first. They can charge for more specific information down the road.”
Kinslow explained that a survey will be mailed to every citizen in Greenwood that will ask for demographics such as ages, race, income and level of education. The survey will also ask participants opinions about such topics as safety, the local economy, jobs and quality of life.
“It is a good program and I think it is something that can help us I think,” said Kinslow. “This along with what we have already done will be informative.”
Currently ACCESS is fully funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and there is no cost for communities.
According to documents provided by the city ACCESS brings people together to increase their community's economic health and well being by building on resident attachment. Attachment is concerned with the factors that emotionally connect residents to their community and create a strong sense of pride, a positive outlook and a sense of belonging.
People with higher levels of attachment also stay in their community. This anchors population growth, encourages the return of educated workers and reduces incentives for people to leave. Communities with strongly attached residents are more open to diversity and better able to attract a talented workforce. Attachment also creates and is supported by an active community life that offers social and cultural activities and surroundings that contribute to the local economy.