The results are in from the HeART Your Community Meeting. Over 200 community members gathered in early September to share their vision for the future of the community through guided conversation and art.
The purpose of the meeting was to gather input and identify priorities for the IMPACT Steering Committee and the city of Batesville, according to release from the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce. The meeting results will also guide the IMPACT Independence County Strategic Plan.
IMPACT is a grassroots community development plan with a focus on economic prosperity, tourism, educational excellence and healthy living and wellbeing rooted in the core belief that every resident has the right to strive to create the environment they desire. Collaboration has driven the creation of the plan and implementation of its objectives.
Participants at the event were challenged to “imagine they had won the lottery and wanted to use the funds to make their community the best place ever to live.” By using creativity and art, groups identified the areas in which they would improve or things to add to Independence County. They were encouraged to think about families, couples, tourism, wellbeing, beautification, infrastructure, among other things.
“Our community has made tremendous strides to be a place where our residents want to live, a place where can business can thrive, and a place where educated young adults want to return. The future of rural Arkansas communities depends on the ability to attract and retain talent. From the survey results it looks like our community is on board to continue making these strides to be competitive and remain relevant,” said Crystal Johnson, president and CEO of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce.
The meeting was the first of many planned as part of a review and revision of the IMPACT Independence County Strategic Plan. Community leaders will continue to gather input throughout the county based on the four IMPACT hubs: economic prosperity, educational excellence, tourism/quality of life, and healthy living/wellbeing.
The results from the meeting show Riverfront Development was the number one suggestion for the possibility of developing more attractive and competitive lifestyle elements in the area.
The full list is below:
90% Riverfront Development
70% Increase in Live Music for Entertainment
65% Pedestrian-Friendly Walking Bridge
55% Address the Unpleasant Odor
55% Additional Restaurants
55% Completion of the Pedestrian Trail System
55% Access to Recreation on the White River
55% Indoor Play Options
45% More Options for Outdoor Adventure
45% New Movie Theatre
45% Ability to Purchase Alcohol
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