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Money in the making.

Pine Bluff's Sequel to Partners in Progress Is $750,000 Into Its $1.25 Million Goal

WHEN CITY OFFICIALS called a meeting of business and community leaders Jan. 13 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center to announce a $1.25 million economic development program, they were speaking to converts.

The people in attendance already had raised nearly $500,000 for Pine Bluff's Partners in Progress II.

"Those early pledges flowed right in," project director Hal Kramer says.

Kramer is from the Atlanta-based National Community Development Services Inc. and will see Pine Bluff through its March goal.

His company assisted Pine Bluff with the original, remarkably successful Partners in Progress in 1988. The goal was to raise $1 million that would fund four years of development. Instead, it generated $1.5 million and lasted five years.

More than 2,600 new jobs were created through Partners in Progress, and there was $680 million in new capital investments.

Partners in Progress II has so far raised $750,000 and should be completed by next month.

When asked what the chances were that the project's monetary goal wouldn't be met, Kramer says, "We haven't even thought about that."

After conducting a feasibility study, Kramer says, "We were confident this is a reasonable, doable goal."

The Jefferson County Industrial Foundation and the Greater Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring Partners in Progress II.

Wally Gieringer, president of the Jefferson County Industrial Foundation, says the original Partners in Progress laid the groundwork for the new one's successes.

"It's improved and upgraded in that a lot of the things that were done in the original program now serve as a foundation for ... greater things to happen," Gieringer says.

For instance, some of the research funded through Partners in Progress can be utilized, such as a study targeting industries that could do well in Pine Bluff. Plans for actively soliciting these industries now will be mobilized.

Already established is a set breakdown of how the money will be spent from Partners in Progress II.

Job creation efforts, including recruitment and retention of companies, will receive the most money, $236,250.

Community action, centered around the Partners for a Better Pine Bluff program started after the 1988 fund drive, will receive $140,000.

Governmental affairs, involving relations with legislative and regulatory agencies, will receive $137,700.

Several community-boosting programs, dubbed "people and pride," has $190,300 designated.

Another $45,000 will go toward community appearance.

And $140,000 will go to the development of downtown Pine Bluff.

Administrative costs will take up $228,750. And $135,000 will go to the professional fund-raising firm leading Partners in Progress II.

Gieringer says some communities have to go to a third tier of fund-raising to attain their goals, but he wouldn't mind if there was not a Partners in Progress III.

He says, "Wouldn't it be nice if Partners II was so successful that we worked ourselves out of work?"
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Title Annotation:fund-raising for Partners in Progress II economic development program for Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Author:Rengers, Carrie
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Feb 15, 1993
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