Anyone interested in getting involved in the Missouri Arkansas Partnership (MAP) is invited to attend an organiza-tional meeting on Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m. in the Barry County Courthouse in Cassville.
This meeting, hosted by the Barry County Commission, will serve to further the planning process for Barry County's involvement in MAP. Several areas of economic development and community development priorities will be discussed at the planning session.
Dr. Tom Simpson, from Missouri Southern State University, will serve as facilitator for the meeting.
The Commission is seeking volunteers to serve as chair-persons of various committees that will be set up to support the county's participation in MAP.
The partnership between Barry and McDonald counties in Missouri and Benton County in Arkansas was formed in late July of 2005. The intended purpose of MAP is to enhance community and economic development in the area, utilizing the very successful Arkansas Community of Excellence (ACE) process.
Once Barry County works through the ACE process through its own committees, its findings will be incorporated with the findings of all communities, cities and counties located within the MAP area to create a bi-state plan for controlled growth and economic development.
Although the ACE process includes 25 different economic and community development areas, Barry County will begin by focusing its efforts on about five areas.
"We want to have committees on law enforcement, education, water quality, economic development and agriculture," said Barry County Presiding Commissioner Cherry Warren.
At the May 22 meeting, Warren said he will be seeking volunteers to chair these five committees and to also serve as committee members.
"Basically, we want to get these committees set up and we'd like volunteers to step up and take over as chairmen," said Warren. "We'll probably have to have people sitting on more than one committee."
In Warren's opinion, the five committees he has named are the top priorities for Barry County.
"We need to look at some of the things they've run into in northwest Arkansas and begin to do some long-range planning," added Warren. "I think this will help us in the future."
All area residents are encouraged to attend the meeting and learn more about the MAP program and the ACE process.