With Ideas in Place, Lonoke Begins Implementing Strategic Action Plan

In May 2017, volunteers and leaders in Lonoke unveiled a five-year Strategic Action Plan for creating a more visible, attractive, and connected community.

This citizen-led initiative called “Kick Start Lonoke” concluded the idea-generation phase of the community’s work.

In October 2017, the work of implementing the plan will formally launch as “Lonoke 2022,” a nod to the five-year window of time associated with the plan’s timeline and the 150th anniversary of the town’s founding.

“Citizens from every neighborhood in Lonoke have been excited about getting to work and putting this plan into action,” says Ryan Biles, one of the several volunteers who have assembled to form the Lonoke 150 Executive Committee, a group of leaders guiding the process of implementing the Strategic Action Plan.  “Everyone has been asking ‘What’s next?’ and we are excited to launch ‘Lonoke 2022’ as our next step forward together,” Biles explains.

The first Lonoke 2022 public forum will be held on Monday evening, October 23, at 6:30.  Lonoke First United Methodist Church will host the community in the fellowship hall in a town-hall style forum that will explain the next steps ahead for the implementation process, and give the citizens of Lonoke an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

The program will conclude with progress updates from Action Team leaders and a question and answer session with the members of the Lonoke 150 Executive Committee.  The website Lonoke2022.wordpress.com has been set up to outline the process and work ahead, and to provide citizens of Lonoke the opportunity to join Action Teams and communicate with the Lonoke 150 Executive Committee.

LONOKE2022 LOGO-color

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Kick Start Lonoke to Present at Breakthrough Solutions Conference

The 2017 Breakthrough Solutions Conference is set for Thursday, June 8, with the theme “Re-Imagining Your Community in the 21st Century Economy,” with pre-conference workshops taking place on June 7. This will be a unique opportunity to learn how to envision and develop your community to be successful in the 21st century economy, as you seek to attract tourists, businesses, entrepreneurs, families, and retirees. You will also hear about exciting community projects and opportunities in eight high priority issue areas. These events will take place at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, 2301 South University, in Little Rock.

The two half-day pre-conference workshops on June 7 are:

  • “Re-imagining Your Community in the 21st Century Economy – Step by Step”
  • “Developing Cultural Competence – Becoming an Effective Leader Across Cultures and Boundaries”

During the Thursday sessions, members of the Kick Start Lonoke team are scheduled to present, including Karen Dill, Co-Chair of the Housing & Real Estate Action Team, who will participate in a panel discussion entitled “They Won’t Come If They Don’t Have a Place to Live –Housing for Your Workforce,” beginning at 3:10 pm.  Also during the Thursday track, Amy Whitehead, Director of UCA’s Center for Community & Economic Development, and Ryan Biles, Co-Chair of Kick Start Lonoke, will be presenting “Engaging Your Community for Maximum Impact –The Kickstart Lonoke Story,” also during the 3:10pm sessions.

For more information, please contact Dianna Bowen of the Kick Start Lonoke Executive Committee and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, or Dr. Mark Peterson.

Additional details and registration link are found HERE:

https://www.uaex.edu/business-communities/strategic-planning/breakthrough-solutions.aspx

Governor Hutchinson Visits Lonoke to Unveil Strategic Action Plan

Nearly 120 people attended an outdoor ceremony in Downtown Lonoke on Thursday, May 18, 2017, where representatives from the Lonoke Chamber of Commerce, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, University of Central Arkansas spoke, recognizing the steps that have been taken to develop the Kick Start Lonoke Strategic Action Plan.

Photo May 19, 7 23 12 AM

The keynote of the event was given by special guest Governor Asa Hutchinson, who told the crowd, “I have always looked at Lonoke as a place of opportunity.”  The Governor outlined his keys to economic development, highlighted recent successes in the Delta region, and reminded the crowd, “How you brand your community and market [it] is very important.”  At the conclusion of the ceremony, Governor Hutchinson was presented with a new mascot for the Governor’s Mansion, the state’s new official goldfish, provided by Pool Fisheries.

The Strategic Action Plan has been published on the Kick Start Lonoke website, where it can be downloaded and viewed.  Hard copies will be made available at the Lonoke Chamber of Commerce office.

KSL Action Plan Cover

While the planning phase of Kick Start Lonoke has now concluded, the important work of the Action Teams will continue.  Throughout the summer, the six individual teams will meet to discuss specific steps for pursuing the goal statements outlined in the plan.  Stay connected with your Action Team Co-Chairs for more information to follow in the coming weeks.  Following summer break, Kick Start Lonoke will then launch the implementation phase with a special event and then resume regular public forums.

The Kick Start Lonoke Executive Committee wishes to thank the Governor and his staff for their kindness and taking time to spend in Lonoke.  A special thanks is also due to Lonoke Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director Hannah Harris for hosting the special event.

Photo May 19, 12 13 14 AM

Gov. Hutchinson to Visit Lonoke to Unveil Strategic Action Plan

This Thursday, May 18, Governor Asa Hutchinson will join the Kick Start Lonoke Executive Team and Action Team Co-Chairs in unveiling the Kick Start Lonoke 5-Year Strategic Action Plan.
Photo May 13, 8 27 10 AM
You and your neighbors are invited to the public event, featuring guests from University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, beginning at 10:00 am at the historic Lonoke Depot downtown.
A brief reception will follow the event, where the public is invited to learn more about the extensive list of goals developed by the Kick Start Lonoke Action Teams over the last nine months of work.
Please share this announcement and spread the word!

Rep. Rick Crawford Commends Kick Start Lonoke, Praises Partnership with Thrive Center

The Kick Start Lonoke Executive Team is pleased to share an important piece of correspondence that we have received.  Last month, Kick Start Lonoke was invited to U.S. Representative Rick Crawford’s office to update the Congressman on the team’s progress and share more about the work that Kick Start Lonoke has undertaken.  Representatives from the Executive Team, Action Teams, and the Chamber of Commerce were able to attend on behalf of Kick Start Lonoke.
During the meeting, Rep. Crawford had some key insights for the community and shared a regional perspective on the team’s strategic work.  He also expressed great enthusiasm that Lonoke is working with Thrive Center, an organization that he supports and champions as an example of good work being done in the Delta.  Rep. Crawford asked to see Thrive’s design for the new Lonoke logo and subsequently offered his kind words of support and praise in the letter below.  Copies of the letter have been made available to the press and were distributed to members of the Lonoke City Council at the May meeting.
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The work being done by Kick Start Lonoke and key partners like Thrive Center is getting noticed and makes a difference.  With the blessing of Congressman Crawford, Lonoke is getting the attention of leaders at high levels!

Thrive Center Introduces New Logo Design at Public Meeting

Note:  This post is an elaboration on the Branding & Marketing Action Team Report that was delivered in the April 11, 2017 Kick Start Lonoke Public Meeting.  More meeting details may be found at this link:
During the April 11 Public Meeting held at Gateway Fellowship Church, Branding & Marketing Action Team Co-Chair Terrance Clark of Thrive Center, 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 that includes an overview of the design team’s work, the goals of the brand system, and language explaining the “Brand Promise.”
Pages from LONOKE-SLIDES-4-11
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The brand system goals include “reaffirming positive perceptions of Lonoke held by existing residents and businesses, boosting overall community pride, and attracting and retaining new families and businesses, establishing Lonoke as a potential home for creatives of all kinds to ‘make their mark’.”
LONOKE-SLIDES-4-11_Page_3
With those goals stated, Clark revealed a monochrome version of the team’s logo design, which includes a new ‘Lonoke’ wordmark in a custom script font wrapped in a circular frame.  A stylized silhouette of the Lonoke County Courthouse crowns the wordmark, which is arranged over a dynamic wave form and the silhouette of fish signifying the ponds and aquaculture elements unique to the community.  A new tagline arches above the logo, the result of many weeks of intense workshops and wordsmithing by the design team with the input of volunteer Action Team members.
The team composed the slogan “Cultivating Community” as a forward-thinking reference to the rich soils of culture, creativity, and industry that generate growth and harvest.
The metaphor of cultivation in the form of a verb implies ongoing work and process that is attractive to young families and creative individuals, while honoring the proud rural heritage of hard work done by the area’s agriculture and aquaculture industry season after season.
By pairing the idea of “cultivation” with “community,” the marketing team captured the spirit of hard work and continued attention necessary to sustain and fulfill the vision of a visible, attractive, and connected Lonoke.
Attendees of the April 11 meeting 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.
The Branding & Marketing Action Team will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30pm.

Public Meeting Held to Discuss Next Phase of Kick Start Lonoke

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!

Kick Start Yard 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!