NEWS: Delta Regional Authority announces $26 million to strengthen Arkansas’s economy

November 28, 2016

NEWS: Delta Regional Authority, state and local partners announce $26 million to strengthen Arkansas's workforce, infrastructure, and economy

Chairman Masingill: "These strategic investments help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives"

LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Delta Regional Authority and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, together with their federal and local-based partners, today announced nearly $26 million in new investments aimed at strengthening Arkansas's infrastructure, workforce, and economy.

Specifically, DRA resources will help drive small business growth across the region, strengthening water and sewer systems in Bull Shoals, Clarendon, and Marvell, as well as increasing access to Arkansas's heritage trail. In total, the investments will create or retain an estimated 650 local Arkansas jobs.

"These strategic investments help us accomplish our core mission - create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of families across Arkansas. Investing in critical infrastructure may not be glamorous to some, but they are essential in our region's effort to attract and keep global companies, skilled workers, and leading entrepreneurs," said DRA Chairman Masingill. "I'm proud to work with all of our partners to invest in the future of the Mississippi Delta region."

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said, "I am pleased that Arkansas has been able to partner with the Delta Regional Authority and local and regional partners to continue to invest in improving infrastructure and spurring economic development in the region. This $26 million investment illustrates our continued commitment to improving the quality of life and driving further economic growth in the Arkansas delta."

"The Delta Regional Authority's commitment to Arkansas is important to improving economic opportunity in our state. These investments will boost job creation and strengthen infrastructure which is good news for families and businesses in the delta region," U.S. Senator John Boozman said.

U.S. Representative Rick Crawford said, "Quality of life issues remain a barrier to growth for many of rural Arkansas communities, and reliable water and sewer systems are absolutely essential upkeep for a town's long-term viability. The Delta Regional Authority's investment in water infrastructure will help keep up a higher quality of life for several of our towns that struggle to maintain the infrastructure themselves."

Visit Governor Asa Hutchinson's official Flickr page to view photos from the announcement.

Watch the live video announcement on Governor Hutchinson's YouTube channel.


DRA – ARKANSAS ECONOMIC INVESTMENTS

1.      DELTA: Establish Consortium for Medical Education in the Delta (C-MED). DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $302,500. Support the establishment of the first Delta community-based clinical education consortium with medical and health institutions. It is projected that no less than 30 residents will be trained through this program annually. Furthermore, this program will create three new medical education positions in each of five accredited hospitals. This program will also create approximately 30 new residency slots and produce 10 new primary care physicians in the region annually.

2.      STATEWIDE: Restore Hope Delta. DRA Investment: $119,000. Total Investment: $1,064,000. A collective impact initiative to reduce the number of children in foster care and reverse the state's growing rate of incarceration. The most basic outcome that will result from the work of Restore Hope will be the continued monthly communication among sectors and focus on a set of agreed upon goals. Once collaboration is facilitated and maintained, the benefits and outcomes of aligned action will decrease the rate of incarceration and increase treatment services and workforce opportunities.   

3.      MONTICELLO: Scogin Drive Extension. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $3,950,000. Construct an extension of Scogin Drive/AR Hwy 83 from its current end at Old Warren Road, northward to intersect with U.S. Highway 278 West creating connectivity to the Health and Education Complex. This connectivity will create a safer and more efficient traffic system within the Health and Education Complex and alleviate the hazardous bottle-neck which exists today.

4.      ARKANSAS CITY: Pave Delta Heritage Trail Access Road. DRA Investment: $194,853. Total Investment: $194,853. Pave the levee ramp to help develop and expand the recreational, historic, and cultural assets of Arkansas City to the extent that the area will become a tourist destination; thereby providing substantial economic opportunity and growth in southeast Arkansas. 

5.      EL DORADO: Construct South Arkansas Community College Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC). DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $1,759,638. This project investment will construct a 9,000 square foot facility for classrooms and specialized training space to support industry-related programs for SouthArk College in El Dorado, Arkansas. Eight companies have already committed to creating approximately 150 jobs and retaining approximately 400 jobs from this investment. 

6.      CLEVELAND COUNTY: Improve River Ridge Access Road & Parking Lot. DRA Investment: $100,000. Total Investment: $100,000. Cleveland County will make improvements to an access road and parking lot that will accommodate River Ridge Equipment Company in Cleveland County, Arkansas. The company has committed to creating at least 3 new jobs in the Cleveland County Area.

7.      BULL SHOALS: Waste water System Improvement. DRA Investment: $500,000. Total Investment: $8,447,700. Construction of a new waste water treatment facility in Bull Shoals, Arkansas that will replace the existing obsolete system. All of the City of Bull Shoals's businesses would face a disastrous situation if the current waste water system failed. The completion of the new waste water system will provide economic stability for the existing business structure, but also will retain six jobs and provide incentive for job creation among existing businesses, potential manufacturers, and entrepreneurs. 

8.      CITY OF MARVELL: Waste water Improvements. DRA Investment: $855,500. Total Investment: $855,500. The proposed project will rehabilitate the city's sewer pumps and a FHA housing project rural sewage system in the City of Marvell in Phillips County, Arkansas – creating or retaining six jobs in the process. An equally important benefit of the project will be the reduction in the cost of repairs, energy, and upkeep of the rural system. These costs are overwhelming the utility to the point of requiring a substantial rate increase that will be detrimental to the residents. 

9.      STONE COUNTY: Excel Boats Expansion. DRA Investment: $200,467. Total Investment: $1,057,967. Stone County will construct additional manufacturing space for Excel Boat Company in order to assist in their expansion efforts. When complete, the company plans to add 20 new employees and retain 40 jobs.

10.  CHERRY VALLEY: Improvements for the Valley Food Pantry. DRA Investment: $37,275. Total Investment: $44,275. Cherry Valley will complete the interior construction of the Cherry Valley Food Pantry and construct a serviceable parking lot for the facility. The facility serves approximately 80 families on a weekly basis.           

11.  PINE BLUFF: Construct Multipurpose Center. DRA Investment: $150,000. Total Investment: $6,555,000. The City of Pine Bluff will construct an Aquatics and Multipurpose Center in downtown Pine Bluff, Arkansas. With this project, the City of Pine Bluff will create 10 full-time permanent jobs.     

12.  CITY OF CLARENDON: Repair Sewer System. DRA Investment: $25,200. Total Investment: $25,200. To repair a portion of the City of Clarendon's sewer system damaged by a sinkhole, which includes removing a manhole and sewer line and rerouting service connections. The residents, school, and businesses in the area will have continued sewer service and be able to go about their business as usual. 

13.  REGIONWIDE: Strengthening the Workforce Pipeline. DRA Investment: $158,000. Total Investment: $375,000. In partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, The Delta Regional Authority, and local schools, the EAST Initiative will start three new EAST programs in the Arkansas Delta.   

14.  CHICOT: Investing in new Mammography Equipment. DRA Investment: $105,000.Total Investment: $271,464. The Delta Regional Authority will help purchase 3 pieces of mammography equipment (including installation) to use at Chicot Memorial Medical Center to help reduce deaths from female breast cancer. If this equipment purchase is not made Chicot Memorial will stop performing mammograms. 

15.  MCGEHEE: Investing in new Radiological Equipment. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $200,000. The new equipment will be utilized in the new McGehee Rural Health Clinic. It will perform mobile, digital, and analog X-Rays.

The investments were made primarily through the DRA States' Economic Development Assistance Program, the agency's main federal funding program that invests in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, and small business and entrepreneurship, and health access projects in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region. DRA coordinates directly with Arkansas's six planning and development districts in the region for program funding implementation.

DRA leadership works closely with the governor of each state and his board designee to identify projects to receive SEDAP investments, which are aligned with state economic development goals. These federal investments require a minimal investment of state funds that can bring a large return in DRA and other agency funding and result in a great economic impact for the Delta region of Arkansas.


About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. To date, the DRA's SEDAP investments, together with its state and local partners, have leveraged $138 million in federal resources into more than $2.9 billion in public and private investment into local small business owners, entrepreneurs, workers, and infrastructure development projects. These investments have helped create or retain more than 26,000 jobs since the DRA was established. Learn more at dra.gov.

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Media Contact: John Collins
press@dra.gov