Posted 12/10/2012 12:00 am
Updated 12 months ago
McCrory, like many east Arkansas delta towns, has seen declining population and perhaps suffered a little from the perception that the world passed it by. While automated agriculture and a more tech-based economy impacted many small farming towns including McCrory, local residents made sure their Woodruff County town didn’t miss out on anything. Over the past year, they have proved that little towns (McCrory’s population is just under 1,800) can do big things.
The efforts of civic leaders, local businesses and volunteers to enhance the quality of life for their community have earned McCrory a 2012 Arkansas Business City of Distinction award.
“McCrory is a wonderful town where people spend many hours volunteering and taking care of its citizens,” said Sharon Dozier, a writer with the weekly Woodruff County Monitor and de facto town historian.
A list of the civic activities added or enhanced over the last year by McCrory residents — some big, some small but delivering a big impact — includes:
The city hosted a Cross Roads Coalition program
Garden Club city beautification
McCrory High Agriculture Club’s trash bins program
McCrory Youth Association’s fundraising efforts for underprivileged kids
The Ken Theatre, a community theater that provides an alternate outlet for kids
The city’s Halloween Parade and Celebration
The annual Christmas Parade
The Chamber of Commerce Membership Appreciation Dinner
McCrory Day Celebration.
McCrory’s selection as a state volunteer community of the year for several years running should come as no surprise. McCrory residents are proud of their community.
“This is what’s important to this city,” Dozier said. “As a farming community, the area is viewed as a disadvantaged financial area. This can be a disturbing label for some people, but not in McCrory.”
The list of community activities taken on by McCrory residents entails both big and seemingly small things, but all significant.
One important event that could provide a long-term impact was the Cross Roads Coalition’s leadership training program. A regional partnership based in Wynne, the coalition works to promote economic development in eight east Arkansas counties including Woodruff.
The McCrory provided residents an overview of the economic development process as well as data and analysis specific to each county in the coalition.
Each participant took home an economic development tool kit full of data, directories and other resources designed to help residents promote economic progress in their community.
While the McCrory Youth Association has a robust baseball/softball program involving more than 250 kids, the Ken Theater provides another outlet for youth by hosting the city’s community theater. It includes dance and acting classes and performs several productions each year, all run by volunteers.
The McCrory Garden Club is active in town, and last year McCrory High’s agriculture class took on a project to supply the city with beautifully decorated trash bins.
Dozier said the project was designed to “decorate” the city with uniformity and show community pride. The materials needed to make the bins were bought by the local Lions Club and the Chamber of Commerce.
This year, the city introduced a Halloween parade and celebration at the suggestion of a local elementary student. Its success has led to plans to make it an annual event. Last year volunteers helped the chamber with the Christmas parade. Grand marshals were members of the undefeated McCrory Junior High football team.
MosquitoFest in May and the McCrory Day celebration in July are two more examples of the community rallying together.
“In these economic times, we have learned to lean on each other, proving that it doesn’t take a huge amount of money from outside sources or a large community,” Dozier said.