A majority of Alma residents want to see development in the city’s downtown, according to the findings from a recent survey by Kick Start Alma.
Kick Start Alma had its first public meeting on Tuesday to go over survey findings and a report put together by the Community Development Kick Start team, an advanced group attending University of Central Arkansas Center for Community and Economic Development Community Development Institute.
A total of 434 people took the survey, which was open Aug. 15 through Sept. 10, said Corey Parks, UCA Center for Community and Economic Development project coordinator.
Kick Start Alma distributed the survey as part of an effort to engender community participation.
“The most important thing about this process is that it’s something driven by the community,” Parks said.
According to survey results, 306 people want to see downtown development as one of the main goals of the city. Beautification also was named as a top goal.
A majority of people also see “small town” as the most important aspect of Alma’s “personality,” according to the survey.
Shelby Fiegel, UCA Center for Community and Economic Development assistant director, gave an overview of the report put together by the Kick Start Alma team.
A summary of the report shows that potential actions for the city include developing community identity and brand, having a stronger online presence, improving the quality of life and place, providing more support to employers and identifying new job opportunities, bringing Wi-Fi to public areas, and creating financial sustainability.
Outlined in the report are the city’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and some possible “quick wins” - actions that will take little time or money, but could make a big impact. The abridged version of the report can be found online.
Attendees to the Tuesday meeting were tasked with reading the report, joining one of five action teams and spreading the word about Kick Start Alma.
Results from the survey and the findings in the report will be incorporated into the final strategic plan for the city, said Amy Whitehead, director of the UCA Center for Community and Economic Development and the Community Development Institute.
A public unveiling of the plan is set for May, Whitehead said.
“That will really be when the community gets the full picture of some of these strategic goals,” Whitehead said.