The City of Fairfield Bay and White River Planning and Developmentwere recognized with a 2018 Star of the Southwest Award during the Southwest Region Economic Development Association’s (SWREDA) Conference, July 25, in Tulsa. Nine projects from Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas were recognized for their accomplishments. All of the winning projects were funded, in part, through support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Austin regional office.


This was one of two awards given in Arkansas, City of Fairfield Bay Mayor Paul Wellenberger stated, the second going to the Innovation Hub in Little Rock.


“This is a big deal,” Wellenberger said.


The City of Fairfield Bayreceived a grant from EDA which helped to rennovate the conference center into a new state-of-the-art conference destination and that has attracted private investment by Cobblestone Inn and Suites.


Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional affairs Dennis Alvord joined the winners as EDA Austin Regional Director Jorge Ayala recognized them. “EDA is pleased to have been a part of these very important projects. Each one has played a critical role in helping bolster local and regional economies through job creation or infrastructure development or expansion,” Ayala said, “EDA’s investments into each of these projects was just one part of the overall financial package and illustrates the benefits of leveraging different resources to achieve success.”


SWREDA is a membership organization consisting of economic development organizations located in the five-state region of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. SWREDA’s general members are regional planning and development organizations, such as councils of governments, economic development districts, regional councils, regional commissions, regional planning commissions, and planning districts.  These organizations are part of a national network of over 500 entities that are normally controlled by their member local governments, though some states have passed laws granting them with region-wide powers over specific functions, and still other states mandate such councils. Additionally, SWREDA’s associate members include private, public, civic and non-profit entities and individuals who embrace the objectives and purposes of the Association and who support its goals and objectives.