UACES Facebook Moving Manila Forward is Making Things Happen
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Moving Manila Forward is Making Things Happen

by Mark Peterson - April 23, 2018

Group meeting of people meeting about Moving Manila Forward Project

Recently I met with leaders of Moving Manila Forward, a community development initiative in Manila, Arkansas (pop. 3,342). Moving Manila Forward started when Mississippi County Extension Agent Staff Chair Ray Benson called and asked questions about how the community might develop and become revitalized.

One of the keys to successful community and economic development is to engage the community so the process is driven by their needs and desires. In addition to public meetings, the chairman of Moving Manila Forward, Andrew Fleeman, engaged the community through a community survey on Facebook.

* Over 1,600 people saw the survey (watched what is happening)

* Of these, 300 filled it out (made things happen)

* Furthermore, Moving Manila Forward has involved over 146 people in the development process (those who are really making things happen).

Since Moving Manila Forward was formed in 2017:

* Community leaders have met with several Breakthrough Solutions partners in Little Rock, plus Jon Chadwell in Newport and Ed Levy in Manila.

* Two farmers’ markets attracted 60 vendors and over 600 people.

* A Shrimp Fly-in took place, with the Manila Pilot’s Association flying in 300 pounds of fresh shrimp from the Gulf for a farmers’ market event and dinner.

* Three new businesses have moved into downtown.

* A Manila Ministerial Alliance has been formed.

* A BBQ Festival is being planned

* More than 1,000 people have been attracted to multiple events in downtown Manila, an area of the town which has several vacant buildings and lots.

Congratulations to the community leaders in Manila for making things happen. And yes, you will hear their story at our upcoming Breakthrough Solutions conference.