FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — For years, Ivy Owen worked in community and economic development until he retired in 2019 from the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) in Fort Smith. Owen died Friday, June 5, he was 73.

Owen was FCRA’s executive director from 2007 to 2019.

The FCRA released a statement and said Owen was the number one fan of Chaffee Crossing. “No one believed in its potential more than him. He proudly told its success story everywhere he went. His contributions that helped bring this economic development project to life will always be appreciated.”

Owen graduated from the University of Mississippi. He worked in Mississippi and Arkansas:

  • Former executive director of community and economic development in Holly Springs, Miss.
  • City of Memphis & Shelby County Government director of economic development
  • Hot Springs SunBay Resort community development and projector director 
  • Mississippi Band of the Choctaw Indians in Choctaw, Miss., community development coordinator

Owen also gave his time to various organizations such as the Fort Smith Symphony, the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Dean’s Advisory Board, and Fort Smith Trolley Museum Board of Directors, to name a few.

Owen was born in Memphis, Tenn., on July 1, 1946.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, two sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren., according to an obituary from