Marmaduke's ACE Certification A Step In The Right Direction

MARMADUKE, AR--Simple designation or community turning point? Wednesday Marmaduke was awarded as an Arkansas Community of Excellence by Governor Beebe.

Residents of the town of Marmaduke are a close knit community.

"I like to go to the store and know people's name just like they call me by my first name," said Marmaduke Mayor Byron Phillips.

Phillips feels the camaraderie comes from overcoming adversity like the April 2nd, 2006 tornado. It's something Greene County Judge Jesse Dollars says sets them apart.

"You see a small town like that and you think this is going to do them in, but they have the attitude this is nothing. This isn't going to keep us down. We are going to come back and we are going to come back better than ever," said Dollars.

After being awarded as an Arkansas Community of Excellence by Governor Beebe Wednesday, Marmaduke is looking to improve while staying the same.

"I think the ACE program allows us to be business minded and open to business, but at the same point remain with that small town mentality," said Phillips.

The town is hopeful the word of mouth generated by the designation will show potential industry they are no longer rebuilding; they're building to the future.

"When other people hear about it, they are like Marmaduke is coming back. They got recertified, so I think people will see this as a plus," said Dollars.

Since the tornado it has been an uphill battle, but the recertification is a sign the town is once again more forward.

"We didn't get this award because people felt sorry for us, we got this award because people worked for it," said Phillips.

Phillips is excited with the American Railcar expansion and the ACE recertification, big things are on the horizon for Marmaduke.

"I believe in the next few years a grocery store and a dollar type store will be here," said Phillips.

In addition, Phillips says they are working on new housing and eventually some sort of health care clinic as well.

To become recertified Marmaduke's leaders focused on economic and community development issues such as business retention and expansion, in addition to health care, highways, education, residential construction and parks and recreation.