Survey opens up conversation to help declining community

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 10:43 PM CDT
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OSCEOLA, Ark. (KAIT) - As the steel industry grows in Mississippi County cities in the county are looking for ways to attract more people to live there. The City of Osceola is one of them.

According to census data in just 10 years, the town lost nearly 1,000 residents. Now, there are steps being taken to try to change that.

“To be honest with you, over the period of time we’ve had a decline,” said Edward Richardson, a longtime Osceola resident.

Osceola was once a thriving town, full of shops and people according to residents we spoke with.

“People are moving, stores are closing. It’s at an all-time low,” said Tracy Callender, Osceola native and business owner.

The lack of activities, shops, and high utility bills are the culprits of more people choosing to move out of the town.

“When we talk about the quality of life, activities and things to do has also declined. So, it has caused a decrease,” said Richardson.

The City of Osceola recently put out a ‘Quality of Life’ survey asking residents what they want to see come to the area.

Richardson has lived in Osceola for more than two decades he said residents just need more to do.

“More restaurants, more places to shop, more activities. Not just for adults, but for youth,” he said.

The survey asks only a few questions, but an important question asks about additional parks, trails, and an aquatic center.

“At one point, they were trying to get a water park into Osceola and I think that would still be good, that would benefit a lot of people around here,” said Callender.

Getting more people back into the community is vital for Callender’s business

“We need new businesses coming in everywhere here,” she said. “We need to get people to move back here.”

The survey is for residents and those who don’t live in the area. It will be open for people to fill out until the end of June.