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Nelson, Cochran Speak at Moving Manila Forward Launch Event

by Mark Peterson - October 4, 2018

“I have been very impressed with what I have seen here in Manila,” said Rex Nelson, a senior editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper in Little Rock. “Other communities are hungry for success stories and this is a good one.”

Nelson spoke at the September 18 launch of Moving Manila Forward Blueprint and Action Plan, the culmination of a strategic planning process through Breakthrough Solutions.

It started when the Manila Pilots Association sought assistance from County Extension Agent Staff Chair Ray Benson to improve the airport and the community. Their initial interest has led to major accomplishments, including:

  • Creating a ministerial alliance
  • More than 3,000 people coming to downtown events
  • A shrimp fly-in from the Gulf
  • Movie nights at the airport
  • Forming a farmers market
  • Attracting new businesses downtown
  • Launching a website
  • Receiving a $450,000 economic development grant

Mark Cochran, head of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, also spoke at the event. He stressed the strong ties of the community to agriculture and the role that the Division of Agriculture has played in developing the area.

Congratulations to Moving Manila Forward on this milestone, and to county Extension agents Ray Benson and Pam Pruett for their tremendous support. We look forward to great things happening in Manila!

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Rex Nelson with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette speaks at the September 18 "Moving Manila Forward" launch event.