CORNING, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 city is working together to build their community up after a huge economic blow last year.
When Corning’s Walmart closed last year, Clay County Extension Agent staff chair Stewart Runsick said it was a big blow to the community.
“Like many other Delta towns, it has lost industry and businesses over the years, and we’re losing, our population is declining, our sales tax revenue is declining, school enrollment is declining, and last year, Walmart closed,” said Runsick.
But, the residents didn’t waste time working to find solutions to keep their town alive.
“Extension Service got involved through our community and economic development program, it’s called ‘Breakthrough Solutions,’” said Runsick.
The program lead to “Growing Corning Together” - a community-led group that’s working to bring business back to Corning.
“So there’s four areas that we’re working on right now. First, one is things to do, events and festivals. The other one is infrastructure like high-speed internet, sidewalks, walking trails,” said Runsick.
The group is also focused on downtown revitalization, community involvement and working in a positive manner to bring businesses back to town.
So far, the group has seen a lot of growth.
“We’ve got like over 100 people already that’s stepped up and joined our group and it keeps growing all the time. Every time we have a meeting, we have new people join and get involved,” said Runsick.
The group has been meeting once a week to discuss and plan community events.
Corning isn’t the first Delta town to use Breakthrough Solutions to help keep their town growing.
The program has a promising track record, with communities like Sheridan and Rison, which have also seen a decline in business.
“Manila has been very successful, it’s a small town here in the Delta as well and Corning is about the same size and I think we can do the same things,” said Runsick.
Growing Corning Together will be holding their first community event in May.
If you’re interested in getting involved in the group, you can find their page on Facebook.