UACES Facebook Baxter County is Moving Forward
skip to main content
CED Blog

Baxter County is Moving Forward

by Mark Peterson - February 28, 2019

Emily Smith, a CED program associate, speaks to the room at a Baxter County Forward meeting on January 29Baxter County Forward was formed last fall as a way to bring the community and county together to plan for the future.

Initially sponsored by the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce,
a broad-based steering committee was formed to engage in the Breakthrough Solutions development process, leading to a strategic blueprint and action plan.

The county’s beginning to lose population was major catalyst for this initiative, as population loss has a negative impact on businesses, non-profits, and local governments.

A second issue that emerged is drug abuse, as 40% of women who come in to the Baxter Regional Medical Center test positive for drugs, and the Baxter County sheriff reported that over 90% of all crime in the county is drug related. This issue has emerged in almost every community we have worked with in Arkansas.

So these action teams were formed, and have been working to develop goals and strategies: 

  • Drugs
  • Business and Industry
  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Quality of Place
  • Tourism
  • Marketing
  • Branding
  • Retirees and Retiree Attraction
  • Funding and Finance

At a previous meeting, a high school technology team presented a tourism app they created for Mountain Home and Baxter County, which provided a glimpse of the expertise in our young people.

On January 29, our new Community and Economic Development Program Associate Emily Smith, spoke to Baxter County Forward on “What Millennials Are Looking for in a Community."

A public meeting is set for today - February 28 - to garner feedback from the public on the draft goals and strategies proposed by the Baxter County Forward Steering Committee.