The 2014 Oscars have all found homes, but the golden GRITS are yet to come. In this context, “grit” isn’t a breakfast dish, it’s a powerful personality trait, and stands for “giving recognition in tourism.“ GRIT tells our community’s story – past, present, and future. The hospitality industry makes a substantial impact on our region’s economy and our collective psyche. The GRIT awards shine a bright spotlight on professionals and volunteers who share their talents for the benefit of every citizen in our region. Alright, alright, alright!
If you know someone who has helped in our region’s tourism and hospitality industry, you still have time to submit a GRIT nomination HERE. Deadline is Friday, March 21.
The business of fun
For most of us, parks and playgrounds are a place for us to relax and renew. For a group of professionals in Arkansas, Fort Smith
is a place to renew, learn, and share what they know about building parks and recreation areas. The Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association
and the Arkansas Therapeutic Recreation Society
are regular visitors to Fort Smith. The groups are visiting for the third time in the past 5 years. Parks and Recreation
director Mike Alsup had a hand in the groups' decisions to visit the first time, and participants loved the experience. For his work in generating an economic impact in excess of $140 thousand dollars, the Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau
names Mike its March 2014 Hometown Hospitality Hero
. Congratulations, Mike!
Speaking of tourism and awards, a tip of the hat to Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau staff
for earning a prestigious award at the annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism
. For its national promotional prowess, the group was awarded a HENRY
for its contribution to Arkansas tourism.
Making progress, as promised
It’s been 24 months since voters overwhelmingly approved the reallocation of an existing sales tax that promised to fund extensive fire service improvements, parks and recreation amenities, water transmission line improvements, and continued progress on our wastewater system’s ability to manage wet weather flows. Ground is broken on the new aquatic center at Ben Geren Park and Fort Smith Fire Station 11 at Chaffee Crossing is in operation. The list of accomplishments in the past 2 years is long, and it’s extensive. We invite you to review Progress as Promised. Thank you, Fort Smith voters!
Participation continues to grow at two key communication initiatives by the mayor and board of directors – quarterly neighborhood meetings, and monthly town hall forums. The next neighborhood meeting is set for April 10 in Ward 2. Staff will provide short briefings on projects specific to Ward 2. Mayor Sanders, directors and staff will be listening and fielding questions. All citizens are welcome.
Town Hall meetings coincide with the first board of directors meeting each month, providing citizens with an opportunity to sit and visit with the mayor and board about topics of concern to them. Agendas and packets are available here, typically on the Friday prior to each meeting.