Gov. Asa Hutchinson hopes that a $70,000 grant awarded to the city of White Hall may help diversify the impact of the Pine Bluff Arsenal.
On Monday (April 9), Hutchinson released a $70,000 military affairs grant to the Jefferson County city to conduct a Joint Land Use Study with an intent to implement projects aimed at improving the military value of the Pine Bluff Arsenal. The Arsenal was established in 1941 and serves as a source of smoke ammunition and chemical defense equipment for the military.
The initiative is part of the governor’s effort announced in 2015 to capitalize on military installations across the state. He started the military affairs program to expand the state’s military interests and related economic development. The 10-member Steering Committee is chaired by Brad Hegeman, president of Nabholz Construction. Retired Air Force Col. Robert Ator was recently named Director of Military Affairs and oversees the grant program.
“Supporting our military installations and having this type of initiative will ensure we remain competitive and valuable to national security,” Hutchinson said.
“This is the first grant for the Arkansas Military Affairs program,” Ator said, “and we’re excited to see what it can accomplish.”
A recent economic impact study of military installations in Arkansas revealed that military business interests account for $4.5 billion annually and employ 60,000 people. The Arsenal’s annual impact is about $142 million, supports 650 jobs and creates another 400 indirect jobs, according to the study.