Fort Smith has certainly had its share of hardships in the past few years crowned off with the closure of the Whirlpool factory last summer.

But area leaders have been harnessing the determination of the region and formulating strategies to take the greater Fort Smith community to another level.

Aric Mitchell with our content partner, The City Wire, recaps last week’s meeting at which a number of top priorities were identified and pushed forward with the support of the business community.

Improving higher education, deepening the Arkansas River and mobilizing the Fort Smith regional workforce to meet demands of site selectors, were top priorities announced at the First Friday Breakfast on Nov. 2.

The monthly event, hosted by the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, featured updates from the Fort Smith Regional Council (FSRC) CEO group at the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center on the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS) campus.

Sam Sicard, president and CEO of First National Bank of Fort Smith and chairman of the group, highlighted the group’s three-part plan:

• To develop partnerships with other CEO groups such as Fifty for the Future in Little Rock and the Northwest Arkansas Council;
• To strengthen educational opportunities for the Fort Smith regional workforce; and,
• Create an environment for economic development through improved infrastructure, more specifically the deepening of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) to 12 feet.

You can read more details on each plank of the plan at this link.

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The City Wire Staff