Press Releases & Media Relations

Grant Award Secures the Completion of Osceola’s “Coston Fine Arts Center”

07.03.2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA FILES FOLLOW BELOW

Contact:
Jane Stanford
City of Osceola (Arkansas)
(870) 563-5245

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Grant Award Secures the Completion of Osceola’s “Coston Fine Arts Center”

After years of hard work, planning, and more hard work the municipal project, which is now known as the “Coston Fine Arts Center” appears to be coming to fruition.

“It is a pleasure to announce the awarding of $295,569.00 in grants for revitalization of the Coston building in downtown Osceola. I deeply appreciate the personal dedication shown by Jane Stanford, Mississippi County Historical and Genealogical Society, Tamika Jenkins and other volunteers in their efforts to bring an exciting rehabilitation and reuse of a historic structure in our historic Downtown Business district.”  Mayor Sally Wilson stated in an announcement today.

It was only two years ago that cleanup and minimal preservation efforts of the historic Coston Building located in downtown Osceola, Arkansas began when the municipality received a Historic Preservation Grant through the Department of Arkansas Heritage for façade repair and tuck-pointing in the amount of $21,000.00. In-kind work of city employees as well as volunteers, for painting, building cleanup, and debris removal moved the preservation project forward.

The potential for creating the “Coston Fine Arts Center” was began taking shape with the awarding of sequential Historic Preservation Grants. The first grant in the amount of $39,794.00 was awarded in 2018 and the second for $39,797.00 was awarded June 25th, 2019. The later grand was designated to begin Phase 1 of a complete restoration of the Coston Building. 

In a letter to Mayor Sally Wilson (received July 1st, 2019) the City of Osceola was informed that their grant application to further fund the restoration of Coston1the historic Coston Building as a home for the CFAC was approved. The minimum total of the grant is $144,992.00. Furthermore, the awarding of this current grant has secured an additional $50,000.00 from the USDA Rural Development Facilities program. 

Jane Stanford, the lead project coordinator states; “The purpose of the CFAC is to engage the public by educating and entertaining through the arts. Programs will be made possible by the generosity of sponsors and contributing members.  Sustaining support will be made through the visual and performance art sponsorships, memorials or honoraria.”

Osceola’s Comprehensive Plan states that it is the policy of the City “to leverage public resources and infrastructure investments to encourage private investment in downtown, to encourage the coordination and joint-marketing of downtown businesses, to promote and assist in providing regular and seasonal events and programming for downtown.”  With downtown’s pedestrian-friendly scale and unique character, the Coston building’s revitalization will enhance the visual aesthetic of our city center and help transform its role into that of a district of diverse uses. The Coston Fine Arts Center will serve as the quality benchmark for many more things to come and in planning within our city center as we strive to preserve, protect and enhance our downtown. 

Sally WilsonCoston2 Mayor

The latest round of funding has put this project on track to be completed within the next six months.

The building is currently maintained by the City of Osceola.

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Funding History:

2017
Historic Preservation Grant through the Department of Arkansas Heritage to repair façade
and tuck-pointing for $21,000.00 In-kind work by city employees as well as volunteers, for
painting, building clean-up and debris removal.
2018
Historic Preservation Grant through the Department of Arkansas Heritage for phase 1 of
restoration in the amount of $39,797.00.
2019
Historic Preservation Grant through the Department of Arkansas Heritage for $39,780.00.
Community Development Block Grant through AEDC in the amount of $144,992.00 and USDA
funds set aside in the amount of $50,000.00

$295,569.00

 

 

 

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May, 22nd 2019: Rural Connectivity Plan

OsceolaSeal2019Last week, Mayor Wilson represented The City of Osceola at the Arkansas Rural Development Conference in Hot Springs.  On Thursday, Governor Hutchinson spoke to the attendees regarding his plan to deploy high-speed broadband internet access to towns across Arkansas, see his press release below.  In his speech, the MCEC LogoGovernor specified that Mississippi County Electric Cooperative, along with other coops, have signed on as partners.  Afterwards, Mayor Wilson discussed the details of this plan with Brad Harrison of MCEC. Harrison said that they (MCEC) hope to provide broadband to all their customers and could include Osceola Municipal Light & Power customers. Wilson informed Harrison that Osceola could be interested.  He said that his office is working on an application for a feasibility study.  If all goes as planned, MCEC will have the study completed by the end of the third quarter 2019.  

It is hoped that we might be able to get as much as 100 megabits for as little as $55 per month.  It goes without saying that this would be very beneficial for Osceola residents and other OML&P customers. Osceola would also benefit by using this value-added service as an incentive for attracting new and retaining our existing small retail businesses.  I will keep you posted as the months progress. 
Sally Wilson

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For Immediate Release
From the Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson

Governor Hutchinson Releases Arkansas State Broadband Plan, Goal for Rural Connectivity in Four Years

25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband to all population centers over 500 by 2022

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today released the Arkansas State Broadband Plan, which sets a goal to deploy high-speed broadband to all Arkansas communities with more than 500 residents by 2022. The high-speed broadband would have a rate of 25 megabits per second for download and 3 megabits per second for upload. 

This plan details the Governor’s goal, how close Arkansas is to achieving that goal, and outlines the means by which that goal can be achieved. You can view 47869124581 a7856cf78e zthe plan in its entirety below.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“Arkansas has already established itself as a national leader in providing high-speed, broadband connectivity to our schools. Today, as a result, our students are developing 21st century skills in the classroom to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce. Our focus now extends beyond our schools and into our rural communities. Equal access to high-speed broadband in rural Arkansas is a critical component to the success and longevity of our state’s economy, and I believe this plan will help us accomplish that goal within the next four years.”

In March 2019, Governor Hutchinson charged the Arkansas Development Finance Authority Economic Policy Division, led by Nathan Smith, Ph.D., to develop a State Broadband Plan. Stakeholders from the private and public sectors assisted in preparing the plan and provided key feedback during the process. Stakeholders include: 

Arkansas Department of Information Systems; the University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service; the Arkansas Department of Health; AT&T; Cox; CenturyLink; Windstream; the University of Arkansas System and the ARE-ON Network; Larry Frazier of Rural Arkansas Telecommunication Systems; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives; the Rural Electric Cooperative Association; technology expert Brent Skorup of the Mercatus Center; Elizabeth Bowles of Aristotle and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee; Ted Thomas, Chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission; the Arkansas Department of Transportation; and Cynthia Edwards, Deputy Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.

With the Governor’s release of a state broadband plan, telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives, utilities and internet service providers will be able to cite the plan when applying for federal grants to expand broadband infrastructure and connectivity in rural Arkansas.

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Strong Southern Communities Initiative

05.13.2019  |  For immediate release

At the invitation of the Arkansas Municipal League's Whitnee Bullerwell and the National League of Cities, Osceola Mayor, Sally Wilson attended the Strong Southern Communities Initiative network seminar at the ARML's headquarters on May 2nd and 3rd along with 14 other Arkansas mayors and council members. 

What is the Strong Southern Communities Initiative (SSCI)?

SSCI is designed to provide practical help and advice to municipal leaders in Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. It brings together local elected officials from across the region who want to improve outcomes for children and families, enabling them to share ideas and discuss the challenges facing their communities.

Additionally, SSCI helps participating mayors and city councilmembers develop local action plans based on their unique circumstances and needs, and then connects city leaders to national experts and regional partners who can help them implement those plans.

What are the benefits?

By joining the SSCI, local elected office will become part of a peer learning network within the region that helps them improve the lives of children and famSSCIilies in their communities.

What are the expectations?

As part of their commitment to join SSCI, city leaders will identify a specific “result” in their community that they seek to improve. YEF Institute staff will then help local elected officials assess their existing barriers, opportunities and assets, and through that process support their efforts to develop a local action plan.

Pictured are those attending: Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Bay Mayor Darrell Kirby, Bryant Mayor Allen Scott, Dermott Mayor Walter Donald, Fairfield Bay Mayor Paul Wellenberger, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin, Lake Village Mayor Joe Dan Yee, Lake Village Alderman Sam Angel II, Lake Village Alderman Sharron Walker,  North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith, Pea Ridge Mayor Jackie Crabtree, Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington, Smackover Mayor Bobby Neal, and Stephens Mayor Harry Brown.

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2019 Memorial Day Schedule

MemPUDue to the Memorial Day Holiday,

NO household garbage will be picked up on

Monday, May 27th, 2019.

The entire City of Osceola will have all household garbage picked up on

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019.

Then returning to the normal schedule on

Thursday, May 30th, 2019.

 

Steve Choals, Superintendent
Osceola Dept. of Streets & Sanitation