Community and Economic Development enlist the community’s involvement when working with government and the private sector to build strong communities, industries, and markets. Community Economic Development is a comprehensive approach to community change that is not limited to just low income programs, or industrial recruitment. Community economic development encourages the usage of local resources in a way that enhances economic opportunities while improving social conditions in a sustainable way.

Community Development

WCAPDD’s Community Development staff works with various state funding agencies to assist local government in our ten counties to obtain financial support for community improvement projects.

Arkansas Department of Rural Services

Through the Arkansas Rural Community Grant Programs, the Arkansas Rural Development Commission (ARDC) and the Department of Rural Services strive to enhance quality of life in the state by providing incentive grants on a matching basis. The ARCGP will assist rural communities with the improvement of local fire protection and related emergency services and construction, development and improvement of local facilities.

Incorporated cities and towns and unincorporated communities in RURAL areas of less than 3,000 in population (verifiable by current U.S. Census Information) are eligible to apply for assistance through the Arkansas Rural Community Grant Programs (ARCGP). In keeping with our enabling legislation, a rural area is defined, for the purpose of this program, as “all the territory of the State of Arkansas that is not within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the latest federal census or within such a city’s or town’s neighboring urbanized areas.”

  • Rural Community Fire Protection Grant
    • Renovations, new construction, or additions to fire facilities.
    • Purchase of fire protection equipment and vehicles
    • Rehabilitation/retrofitting of newly acquired equipment and vehicles.
  •  Rural Community Development Grant
    • Renovations, new construction or additions to publicly owned buildings (civic/community centers, senior/youth centers, libraries, museums, etc.
    • Renovations, new construction, new equipment, or additions to parks and other publicly owned recreational facilities (baseball/softball fields, landscape/beautification projects, park and picnic areas, jogging/walking trails, etc.).
  •  Rural Services Block Grant Program

           In accordance with the State of Arkansas Five Year Plan for Arkansas Housing, Community and Economic Development Programs the following entities are eligible for funding under the Rural Services Block Grant Program (RSBGP):

  • Incorporated cities and towns in RURAL Arkansas with less than 3,000 people (verifiable by current U.S. Census information). The area’s population must have 51% falling in the low to moderate income range to be eligible.
  • Unincorporated RURAL areas in Arkansas with less than 3,000 people may apply to the RSBGP for projects, which will benefit to residents of which 51% are low to moderate income.

In keeping with our enabling legislation, a rural area is defined for the purpose of this program as “all the territory of the State of Arkansas that is not within the outer boundary of any other city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the latest federal census or within such a city or towns neighboring urbanized areas.  For more information call the Arkansas Department of Rural Services 1-888-787-2527.

Arkansas Historic Preservation Grants

Historic preservation funding assistance is available to local government and non-profit organizations through the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP). Eligible properties must be listed on the Arkansas or National Register of Historic Places or must meet eligibility requirements as part of a National Historic District.

Arkansas Recreational Trail Grant Program

This program is administered by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) and provides funding to local project sponsors (public and private/nonprofit agencies) to construct and maintain motorized and non-motorized recreational trails and trail support facilities. The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a reimbursement-type grant program. The program provides for an 80 percent federal share and 20% non-federal share for each project. The main priority is for the construction of new trails and for major maintenance of existing trails. For more information on the AHTD program, please visit the AR Highway Department website.

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Grants

Arkansas Parks & Tourism grants are designed to assist cities and counties in developing outdoor recreation facilities. There are (3) different programs that can assist in meeting the needs for each city/community:

Fun Park Grant – Designed to assist cities/counties in developing basic neighborhood outdoor recreation facilities.

  • Only projects to construct outdoor facilities are eligible
  • Available to rural communities with a population of less than 2,500
  • Targeted to areas of the state that do not presently have any facilities, or whose facilities are inadequate in size or scope to meet local needs

 50/50 Matching Grant – the purpose of the Matching Grant Program is to build outdoor recreation facilities.

  • Up to $250,000 reimbursable grant program
  • Must finance 100% of the cost of the project
  • 50% of the eligible expenditures, up to the grant amount, may be reimbursed by periodic billings during the project period, or the grantee may wait until project completion to request total reimbursement

Trails for Life Grant – To develop facilities in local neighborhoods/parks by encouraging healthy life-styles.

  • To establish a foundation for creating a higher level of physical activity and better community health.
  • Limited to trails specifically designed for providing health/fitness benefits.

For assistance in the preparation of the Arkansas Department of Rural Services, Historic Preservation, Trails or Recreational grants, district members may contact either;

Darian Piper, Program Manager, 501-525-7577 ext 1008

Vicki Anderson, Program Manager, 501-525-7577 ext 1003

Arkansas Economic Development Commission

WCAPDD provides assistance to member governments with community development efforts through the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program (ACEDP). This program from the Arkansas Department of Economic Development provides funds to cities and counties for economic development and community development and improvement projects. The funding for this program comes from the Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Funding for CDBG grants come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Congress created CDBG program in 1974 to assist low and moderate-income families, for the prevention and elimination of slums or blight, and to address other urgent community development needs.

Eligible activities under the CDBG program include;

  • the construction of water and wastewater systems,
  • childcare facilities,
  • senior citizen centers,
  • public health facilities and
  • multi-purpose community centers.
  • In addition, funds are provided for fire protection improvements and for economic development pursuits whose primary focus is the creation of jobs for low and moderate-income families.

The following cities receive their CDBG funding directly from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and are not eligible for funds from this program:

  • Bentonville
  • Fayetteville
  • Conway
  • Hot Springs
  • Fort Smith
  • Jacksonville
  • Jonesboro
  • Little Rock
  • North Little Rock
  • Pine Bluff
  • Rogers
  • Springdale
  • Texarkana
  • West Memphis

For assistance with CDBG projects contact Vicki Anderson, Program Manager, or 501-525-7577 ext# 1003

General Assistance and Innovative

The General Assistance and Innovative grant program is designed to provide cities and counties with the opportunity to apply for grant assistance for a variety of projects that are not covered under other funding categories.

  • Only non-entitlement cities and counties are eligible to apply and must address a national objective for the Community Development Block grant program (CDBG); benefit low to moderate income, elimination of conditions of slum and blight, or assist in addressing an urgent community need.
  • Grants will be for an amount between $50,000 and $200,000

For assistance with the General Assistance and Innovative program, contact Vicki Anderson, Program Manager at or 501-525-7577 ext 1003

U.S. Department of Urban and Housing Development

Assist HUD housing authorities in completing their environmental review record process that is subject to HUD guidelines.

For assistance with Environmental Reviews, district members may contact Darian Piper, Program Manager or 501-525-7577 ext 1008

Economic Development

The District has prepared and served as the administrator of several economic development grant applications on behalf of municipalities and counties in order to provide job opportunities and promote private investment. An economic development infrastructure project involves the interaction of several persons, including a mayor or county mayor, economic development professionals, funding agency representatives, company representatives, and/or engineers.

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Public Works: Empowers distressed communities to revitalize, expand, and upgrade their physical infrastructure to attract new industry, encourage business expansion, diversify local economies, and generate or retain long-term, private sector jobs and investment.

Economic Adjustment: Assists state and local interests in designing and implementing strategies to adjust or bring about change to an economy. The program focuses on areas that have experienced or are under threat of serious structural damage to the underlying economic base.

Community Trade Adjustment Assistance: Provides project grants to communities that have experienced, or are threatened by, job loss resulting from international trade impacts.

Partnership Planning: Supports local organizations (Economic Development Districts, Indian Tribes, and other eligible areas) with long-term planning efforts.

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms: A national network of 11 Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers to help strengthen the competitiveness of American companies that have lost domestic sales and employment because of increased imports of similar goods and services.

University Centers: A partnership of the federal government and academia that makes the varied and vast resources of universities available to the economic development community.

Research and National Technical Assistance: Supports research of leading edge, world class economic development practices and information dissemination efforts.

Local Technical Assistance: Helps fill the knowledge and information gaps that may prevent leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors in distressed areas from making optimal decisions on local economic development issues.

Disaster Relief: The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) can assist communities in addressing long-term disaster relief and recovery needs. Through competitive grants to eligible applicants, EDA’s disaster recovery generally falls within three categories:

  • Strategic Planning and Technical Assistance
    • EDA offers financial resources and technical assistance to help develop and enhance economic development plans following a disaster. This is generally achieved through the funding of disaster recovery plans, strategies, and funding for disaster recovery coordinators.
  • Infrastructure Design and Development
    • EDA offers grant funds to support the construction design and engineering, or to support the building of new infrastructure, or the retro fit and expansion of existing facilities to foster economic development to retain or attract jobs to the region
  • Capital for Alternative Financing

*Some photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism