Forty members of the Lonoke community assembled on Tuesday evening, April 11 at Gateway Fellowship International Church for the final Kick Start Lonoke public meeting before the independent initiative unveils the community’s Strategic Action Plan document in a May 18 press conference.
After a brief welcome, The Kick Start Lonoke Action Team Co-Chairs delivered updates on each team’s work related to Infrastructure, Jobs & Education, Beautification & Recreation, and Downtown & Retail Development.
Karen Dill, Co-Chair of the Housing & Real Estate Action Team shared details on the upcoming community cleanup day, scheduled for Saturday, April 29. Dill noted that the focus neighborhood will include properties west of Barnes Street over to Center Street, and north of Front Street up to 10th Street. She reported that five families in the neighborhood who received flyers have requested assistance. They will be helped by a team of neighbors and volunteers who will gather at 9:00 am on the 29th at the Depot, prior to beginning work assisting the families with mowing, raking, trimming, weeding, and removing debris. This project is the direct result of the Kick Start Lonoke Housing & Real Estate Team putting their goals into action! Please contact Karen or Evelyn Bryant to volunteer for cleanup day!
The Action Team reports closed with a presentation from Branding & Marketing Action Team Co-Chair Terrance Clark of Thrive Center, who summarized the last six months of work by Thrive’s team of graphic designers and marketers. In November 2016, the City of Lonoke hired Thrive Center to undertake a long-term process of creating elements for a branding and marketing campaign. The first step of this work was to coordinate with the Kick Start Lonoke initiative in a series of community workshops in order to design new visual elements, including a logo and tagline, to support the community brand.
This first element was developed by Thrive’s team of graphic designers and marketers through a multi-month process that involved numerous public meetings, the cooperation of over fifteen local citizen volunteers from Lonoke, and the approval of the Lonoke Industrial Development Commission. In order to prepare this first deliverable for inclusion in the Kick Start Lonoke Strategic Action Plan document, Thrive was requested to create these elements according to a series of deadlines, all of which have been met, in order that the document’s publication and printing target dates may be satisfied.
During the April meeting, Clark presented the team’s research, which informed the composition of a “Creative Brief” document, along with a monochrome version of the new logo design and tagline.
Meeting attendees were reminded that the creative process which generated the design has garnered unanimous support from both the volunteer-led Branding & Marketing Action Team and the City-appointed LIDC and represents a consensus from a broad sample of community members. The Action Team requested that attendees be vocal in their support of the work, as the tagline and logo–which will ultimately include a color version–is introduced broadly in the coming months as part of the continuing marketing campaign.
With a spirit of collaboration and enthusiasm, your Kick Start Lonoke Executive Committee encourages you to visit with your City Council member and respectfully express your support for the logo design presented on April 11 as the consensus choice of your neighbors and fellow volunteers.
Following the Action Team updates, Mark Peterson of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service presented a talk on “Sustaining the Development Process and Implementing Your Plan,” which delineated nine key elements for the Kick Start initiative to maintain after the planning phase is complete and the Strategic Action Plan is published. As an independent initiative supported by numerous community stakeholders, including the Lonoke Chamber of Commerce, Lonoke Public Schools, and various non profits and volunteer organizations, Kick Start Lonoke will soon move into its next phase of work, in order to begin implementing the goals stated in the Strategic Action Plan.
Peterson spoke of a one-year review at which time the Cooperative Extension Service and the team from the University of Central Arkansas Center for Community and Economic Development will return to Lonoke to evaluate the progress the community has made since launching the plan. He noted that some of the current Action Teams may combine or become standing committees of other organizations as work continues and goals are achieved.
By taking a long-term view of the work ahead, Kick Start Lonoke will continue to be a relevant force for change and growth in the community. Peterson reminded the attendees of the importance of continued communication and celebration of achievements along the way.
The Kick Start Lonoke Strategic Action Plan will be unveiled at a press conference to be held in cooperation with the Lonoke Chamber of Commerce downtown at the Depot at 10:00 am on Thursday, MAY 18. The Kick Start Lonoke Executive Team has received word that Governor Asa Hutchinson wishes to accept the community’s invitation to attend and recognize the work that Lonoke’s volunteers and stakeholders have undertaken together.
The meeting closed with a word of thanks for the leaders and volunteers from Gateway Fellowship International Church, who hosted the community on Tuesday evening, and a reminder of upcoming events, including the Lonoke Chamber’s Annual Appreciation banquet on April 29 featuring guest speaker Rex Nelson.
Your Kick Start Lonoke Executive Committee wishes to thank Conya Spencer and David Russell, along with the entire congregation of Gateway Fellowship who welcomed Kick Start Lonoke and shared their beautiful facility with our community!