June 25, 2008 Edition

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Hoxie receives ACE certification

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (from left) took time to visit with Billy Blair, a Hoxie volunteer fireman, and his son, Nathan, and other members of the public while in Hoxie on Friday afternoon. The governor was here to present the City of Hoxie with its Arkansas Community of Excellence (ACE) certification.
TD Photo ~ John Bland
John Bland
TD Publisher

Hoxie was certified as an Arkansas Community of Excellence (ACE) at a ceremony held Friday at Hoxie Service Center. Governor Mike Beebe presented the ACE certificates to Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts and Dewey Scott, chairperson of the city's ACE committee.

ACE is the cornerstone of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission's community development efforts. ACE helps communities develop a strategic plan that focuses on economic growth by expanding the local economy and enhancing the quality of life for residents.

"Hoxie's certification as an Arkansas Community of Excellence proves that planning for a city's future is not a one-size-fits-all effort," Beebe said. "Leaders of smaller, tight-knit communities like Hoxie have shown that they can put their heads together to create the path to future success." Gov. Beebe was introduced by State Rep. J.R. Rogers of Walnut Ridge.

Among the issues tackled by Hoxie's leaders were business retention and expansion, commercial development, tourism, beautification, healthcare and fire protection. The issues were chosen after a series of community meetings, surveys and discussions.

"The ACE certification means a lot to the people of Hoxie," Roberts said, who also welcomed and introduced several dignitaries and elected officials present for the event.

"The entire community came together to make sure the improvements were made, and I want to congratulate and thank everyone involved in making this honor possible."

Members of the ACE committee for Hoxie included: Jim Kirksey, community development; Sherry Moore, educational programming; John Allen, existing business and industry; Lanny Tinker, beautification; and Dewey Scott, fire protection planning, as well as serving as chairman of the committee.

As part of the ACE process, Hoxie is:

  • Creating a business retention and expansion team that is working with existing industry to gather information and build relationships.

  • Developing a commercial district for new retail businesses.

  • Promoting the city's history as a railroad town to increase tourism and develop community pride.

  • Promoting educational opportunities through the local school district, workforce offices and regional colleges and universities in an effort to increase the number of residents with education beyond a high-school diploma.

  • Working to reduce the community's fire rating.

  • Creating a website to market the city to potential new residents and business prospects.

    "We will fight like the dickens to get jobs for our state," said Gov. Beebe to the group assembled at the Hoxie Service Center for the presentation. "What we will not do is pick one town over another. That's why this ACE certification is so important."

    "When one part of our state does well, it helps the whole state," said Beebe. "We're all in this together."

    Beebe said the ACE certification process is not easy. "It's an accomplishment that everyone in this room should be proud of. You have taken a major step toward creating those opportunities (for growth). Now, it's up to the community to sell itself."

    Beebe closed stating, "This is a red letter-day and you should be proud."

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