The city of Casa is a community of roughly 120 residents in rural western Perry County, Arkansas, along highway 10, five miles from the Yell County line. The area is severely lacking in services and is considered a food desert due to a lack of access to fresh foods. These challenges disproportionately affect Casa’s senior citizens, who account for roughly a quarter of the town’s population. The city is also vulnerable to wildfires, having most recently confronted a major wildfire in 2015. Additional challenges include groundwater contamination from the 38-acre Midland Products site near Ola, Arkansas, about eight miles from Casa. Old Midland Products operated from 1969 to 1979 as a wood-preserving treatment plant. The company discharged contaminated effluent into waste lagoons, which occasionally overflowed. With support from the community and consultants, Casa has put substantial effort into filling service gaps and improving the quality of life for all residents. These efforts have focused on improvements to community facilities, properly equipping the city’s volunteer firefighters, and local emergency response capacity.
Casa’s small population makes for a tight-knit community, but also creates its own challenges. The small tax base, and the fact that more than 40% of the population are low income, makes it difficult to fund municipal services or improvements. The city’s aging fire house is in need of renovation, but estimates place the cost at several million dollars. The city has begun working with consultant Alan Faulkner to secure funding for projects. With Faulkner’s support, the city has converted a former school cafeteria into a community center that serves the city’s senior population; and he has secured a grant for wildfire suppression kits that will provide the city’s twenty volunteer firefighters with personal protective equipment (PPE), and additional gear. Faulkner and the city have also sought funding for an ADA accessible walking trail through the city park, additional food services through the community center, the creation of a pavilion, and a city-wide wastewater treatment system.
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Drought, Flooding, Heat, Wildfires
Environmental Justice Concerns
Groundwater Contamination, Logging/Biomass, Sewage/Sewage Treatment, Superfund Sites
Community Farm/Gardens, Community Organizing, Legal/permit challenges to development, contamination, pollution, etc, Nature-Based Solutions, Policy Reform, Renewable Energy, Risk mapping and/or monitoring e.g. flooding/contaminants etc
501c3 Tax Deductible