STRAWN – The community of Strawn received the prestigious designation of “All-Star Community” at the 23rd Annual Texas Midwest Conference on Oct. 25 at the Abilene Convention Center.
The TMCN Annual Conference was attended by more than 300 representatives from the 31 northwest Texas counties the TMCN area encompasses.
Strawn Chamber of Commerce Director Jeff Hinkson received the award from TMCN Executive Director Kathy Keane. According to Keane, “The award was developed to recognize a community in our region that went beyond the level of basic achievement into areas of specific accomplishments that serve as models for other TMCN communities to emulate.”
Communities eligible to apply for the competitive All-Star Community Award must have been designated a “Community of Achievement” within the past three years. Strawn received this designation in 2015, authorizing their eligibility to apply for the All-Star award. Other requirements included written essays explaining how the community goals had been accomplished, how the community addressed assessment visits by outside visitors, and describing a significant project, program or event that brought special recognition to the community.
In 2012, the community learned that Texas Parks & Wildlife had purchased more than 3,500 acres west of Strawn to develop Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. The park is to be situated on land that surrounds Strawn’s town lake and water supply, Lake Tucker.
TPWD’s acquisition along with a strong desire to see change both economically and within the community, a motivated group of businesses, citizens, Strawn alumni and fans of Strawn, established the Strawn Chamber of Commerce. Since that time, the Chamber has acted as the conduit to voice local and regional support for the development of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.
In both 2015 and again in 2017, the Strawn Chamber and its members spearheaded efforts to advocate for the development of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park by making several trips to Austin and meeting with TPWD officials, state representatives and senators. In 2017, they included letters and resolutions, more than 20 articles and radio interviews that have been published in all the major newspapers throughout the state drawing attention to state parks and, in particular, encouraging the Legislature to fund Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.
These bound copies were delivered to more than 100 elected representatives. One of the recommendations of the community assessments was to create signage to direct visitors to the park. While such signage cannot move forward without state approval, community leaders continue to promote the park through traditional and social media as well as direct communication with the various groups that will use the park.
The All-Star Community Award includes a $2,500 cash award presented to the community to be used for a local project. At the Annual Conference in 2018, a report will be given by Strawn representatives explaining how the cash award is being used to the betterment of the community.
In addition to the state park advocacy efforts detailed in the press release, Strawn was chosen because of its proactive efforts in recent years to restore several of it's historic buildings and its historic city cemetery, rebuild the baseball/softball complex and clean, beautify and landscape it's historic downtown and other areas of the city. All of these efforts were primarily driven and funded through local citizen support and the help of area organizations.
TMCN member cities include Abilene, Albany, Anson, Aspermont, Baird, Ballinger, Brady, Breckenridge, Bronte, Brownwood, Buffalo Gap, Cisco, Clyde, Coleman, Colorado City, Comanche, Cross Plains, De Leon, Dublin, Early, Eastland, Eden, Goldthwaite, Gorman, Graham, Hamilton, Hamlin, Haskell, Hico, Jacksboro, Jayton, Knox City, Menard, Merkel, Miles, Munday, Ranger, Rising Star, Robert Lee, Roscoe, Rotan, San Angelo, San Saba, Santa Anna, Seymour, Snyder, Stamford, Strawn, Sweetwater, Throckmorton, Tye and Winters.
The mission of Texas Midwest Community Network is to promote a regional approach to provide the resources and awareness for its members to achieve economic and community growth. The organization provides a means by which communities can work together to accomplish what one community cannot do alone through networking, tourism promotion and economic/community development education.
For more information about Texas Midwest Community Network visit www.tmcn.org.