Editor’s Note: “The Economic Development Side” originally appears in the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce’s weekly member e-newsletter. It is written by Rhonda Dishner, the Economic Development Alliance’s executive assistant.


Here we are just a few days past the midway point of winter. So far, it’s been comparatively mild. But even as the squirrels in the backyard are still carefully burying acorn stashes for winter, the Bradford pear trees are budding and the early morning birds are chirping as if it’s spring already.


Regardless of the season, though, there is constant activity in the natural world around us. For example, we’ve all heard the idioms about busy bees and beavers. There’s also the industrious ant that’s the subject of biblical proverbs and an ancient fable.


Granted, that’s a roundabout way to arrive at the point that economic development knows no set season and is a continual process. But this author watched some squirrels and heard some early birds while trying to think of this week’s topic!


In case you haven’t noticed, there is a lot of positive activity going on in Pine Bluff these days. While some of the pessimists may remain skeptical, scores of optimists among us are rising to the occasion and working toward filling the glass they’ve perceived as already being at least half full. (We’re also adding a proverbial phrase to make this point.)


Economic development was one of the four “pillars” framing the Go Forward Pine Bluff initiative that recently announced its strategic implementation plan for revitalizing Pine Bluff and making it the best it can be.


Alliance President Lou Ann Nisbett served on that pillar during the year-long process. As this task force, with over 20 members, researched community needs relating to economic development and then began compiling strategic activities and services to address them, Nisbett was excited to see that the recommended actions would all serve to enhance her ability to “sell” the community area to industrial prospects.


Another local private group, the newly formed Pine Bluff Rising, also is rising to the challenge of implementing a community betterment agenda. Caleb McMahon, director of economic development for the Alliance, is a board member of this non-profit organization.


That makes two strong groups, composed of local leaders and volunteers, that are focused on results — those results being a better Pine Bluff for industry, business and the community as a whole. That includes downtown and all around town. Participants welcome.


It’s still winter, according to the calendar, but now is definitely the time to spring into action. (Seasonal pun intended.)