For more information and assistance contact Dani Pugsley, President & CEO of the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce
Baxter County is known for its beautiful lakes and rivers, many opportunities for outdoor recreation, natural beauty, and a high quality of life. It attracts visitors from all around the country, many of whom return to live and retire. Yet in spite of these advantages, major forces and trends impacting rural America – urbanization, globalism, and the rise of high tech centers, draw people away from rural areas, including Baxter County. This dynamic is felt across the state, as 2/3 of Arkansas counties are experiencing population decline, according to the most recent Census estimate. So Baxter County is experiencing a population decline.
The pace of change in the 21st century is increasing, and what worked well even 5 years ago may not be working as well today. To respond to this challenge, it takes pro-active leaders who engage their citizens to develop a strategic direction and action plan that will enable them to succeed in this new environment. And that is what is happening in Baxter County.
Through discussions with members of the community, the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce engaged the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service Breakthrough Solutions Program to lead an action planning process in our area to address challenges this decline could mean. From there, Baxter County Forward has emerged as a broad-based community initiative for our whole county - public, private, non-profit sector, key leaders of the area, and the citizens of Baxter County. We seek to support existing organizations and a prospective economic base and be inclusive of all initiatives that are healthy for Baxter County.