Will Dumas Become a ‘City of Innovation’?

November 8, 2021

Innovation means seeing things different and doing what it takes to bring the difference into reality. It means to look at things as they are and see how creativity, visionary minds and innovation unite to bring about the change for progress.

Is Dumas Arkansas ready to become ‘A City of Innovation’? How does it work and who will be a part of making it happen? The REDI (Rural Economic Development Innovation) award was announced in 2019 to THE LEGACY CENTER in West Dumas (also known as the West Dumas Community Family Life Center) as one of 47 recipients nationwide. INnovation Day moves this forward with new ideas and new people.

Mr. Merle Peterson was an innovator. INnovation Days include a salute to his legacy. He saw ways to bring change to Dumas. Now, years beyond his death and the death of his wife, Deloris, their legacy is being honored with a series of INnovation Days in Dumas. The goal is to bring forth new visionaries, entrepreneurs, innovators and innovation to Dumas, Desha and across the Delta. Let’s remember them.

“I remember Mr. Peterson very well. Not only in the public and visits to our church, he would come to our home early in the mornings to pick up my father, the late Dr. A.L. Hunt, Sr. They would be traveling to Little Rock to the airport to pick up company presidents who had interest in investing in Dumas industries. Mom would yell down the hall from the kitchen, Mr. Peterson is here. My dad would say tell him I’m on the way. From my family in the west end of Dumas this was a glimpse of what was to come from days like today. I have come to know innovation and we are here to see it multiply from The Legacy Center to all of Dumas and beyond. Please come and honor their legacy,” stated Rev. Arthur L. Hunt, Jr.

How it works:  This Saturday, October 30, 2021, another INnovation Day takes place at THE LEGACY CENTER located at 501 W. Bowles. The time is 12noon until 4pm.

The day includes a virtual tour on the screen of the new campus with the architects from Cromwell Architects renderings of the inside and outside views. Mr. Ed Levy is onsite and Tony Mallett is the featured architect. Music and other entertainment will be featured. Ed will deliver a powerful keynote on “The Power of Place”.

In addition, the start of the pitches for innovative ideas for Dumas takes place. This is where persons who have ‘new ideas’ will pitch them in the ‘INnovation Tank’ and best ideas will be advanced to a final round in January for cash prizes and will go before the Dumas city council in a program called ‘INnovate Dumas’ from REDI and The College of Aspiring Artists. It’s a challenging appeal to the city and to other funders to release funding for innovative programs for Dumas. Onsite registration is limited and persons wanting to pitch can do early registration online at https://innovationdaydumasark.eventbrite.com

Other activities and will feature a COVID update from Virologist, Infectious Disease Expert, Dr. Lane Rolling, M.D., Director of Clinical Education and Research at the Tropical Pathology and Infectious Disease Association. Persons can get tested for the virus, see and purchase new antiviral technology and walk out with free food. Scholarship applications will be released with over $50,000 being awarded by 2022.

The College of Aspiring Artists, ASC Property Management, City PRIDE and The Legacy Center in West Dumas are the key presenting partners. Food supply is limited to first come first serve and will be placed in vehicles by support staff when needed. Some special treats for the kids and ‘Hugs and Hot Dogs’ plus, from Arkansas PBS for children are also limited supply. For more information, please call 870.501.0356 or email: allofdumasunited@gmail.com

This article was originally published in Dumas Clarion.

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