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story.lead_photo.caption Springdale city hall.

SPRINGDALE -- The city will use $96,000 from Tyson Foods to develop a welcoming plan, focusing on the various cultures in Springdale.

The project is coordinated by the Northwest Arkansas Council's EngageNWA initiative, designed to promote a welcoming, diverse culture in Northwest Arkansas. The council is a nonprofit group, which includes executives from the region's largest companies, schools and health care systems.

Announcement

Who: EngageNWA

What: Announce five-year plan for economic development

When: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday

Where: The Jones Center, 922 E. Emma Ave., Springdale

Information: (479) 200-9513, robsmith@nwacouncil.org

City Council members voted 7-1 Tuesday night to accept the one-year grant.

"The grant will help us identify what's not been done and what needs to be done better and can be accomplished by the city staff," said Ernest Cate, the city attorney.

The grant requires the city to complete several projects in developing the plan, including a forum to gather input about city issues from leaders of the city's diverse communities, two six-week sessions of a civic academy introducing participants to the city's resources, and a language access program which will see city documents translated into Spanish and Marshallese.

The grant allows the city to either hire someone to develop the program or hire independent contractors to achieve the goals of the grant, said Mayor Doug Sprouse.

"They've let us be wide open in the way we accomplish these goals," Sprouse said. "We'll have to determine what's the best way for us to achieve them."

City Council members voiced some concerns at Tuesday's meeting about how the planning coordinator would be hired and why the city needs to be involved.

"A lot of nonprofit agencies and foundations already serve the community," said Kathy Jaycox, a member of the City Council. She suggested the grant be given directly to the Northwest Arkansas Council for the work, with the city partnering.

Cate explained, for example, city staff need to determine which documents to translate.

"The Northwest Arkansas Council doesn't understand all of our documents and why they are used. The grant has some purposes that are specific to city expertise," Cate said.

"Tyson wants us to leverage each other's strengths," said Margo Lemaster, executive director of EngageNWA. "If we are working together, we can do better and have a bigger impact on the community."

Springdale is the only city to receive the grant, Lemaster said.

The grant also requires certain percentages of the forum and civic academies be filled by Tyson employees.

Both Tyson Foods and the Northwest Arkansas Council refused to comment further about the program before the public launch Tuesday of EngageNWA's 2018-22 plan.

The city created an advisory committee to oversee the hiring and completion of the grant, which includes Cate and representatives of the fire, police and human relations departments. Melissa Reeves, the city's director of public relations, also serves on the committee and will coordinate with city staff to meet the goals of the grant, Sprouse said.

NW News on 07/30/2018

Print Headline: Grant to help Springdale serve residents

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