Crittenden County, Marion, and city of West Memphis reach cooperation agreement on super site

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 678 views 

Marion has a “super site” for industry and the city, Crittenden County and the city of West Memphis have reached a cooperative agreement to help develop the 1,800 acres. The governmental entities have signed a joint resolution agreeing to cooperate on the development and promotion of the site. The goal is to have the site shovel ready in 60 days, according to a release.

The three will also partner with Entergy Arkansas and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Entergy Arkansas has a program, Select Site, that has a 50-point checklist to aid communities in industrial site development, according to the company.

That checklist addresses a wide range of topics from the environmental conditions of the site, location advantages/disadvantages, taxes and other issues that would be of concern to an industrial prospect.

“We want to make our mark on the economic future of eastern Arkansas,” Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless said. By working together as government bodies and partnering with AEDC and Entergy through the Select Site program we are doing everything we can to bring development to this part of the state.”

The site is on flat ground, and is adjacent to a Union-Pacific intermodal terminal that operates on a 600-acre swath. The property is contiguous and all the necessary utilities available. It’s 10 miles from Memphis, one of the major commerce hubs in the United States. The port of Memphis, located on the Mississippi River, is the third largest in the country.

Five class one railroads operate in the area. At least two rail lines have direct access, and single-system shipments can be made to all lower 48 states, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico. Two major U.S. highways intersect in West Memphis. Interstate 40 connects the West Coast with the East Coast, and I-55 connects Canada with Mexico. Major urban distribution centers such as Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, and others are connected to these routes.

FedEx operates the largest cargo freight operation in the world in Memphis and the Memphis International Airport is located there. At least 152 major metro markets can be reached overnight by truckers from Memphis, more than any other city in the U.S.

The site is above the 100-year flood plain. The site has so many transportation advantages that Southern Businesses & Development once designated it as the best place in the South to build an automotive plant.

In 2003, 2011, and in 2017, the state has tried to pitch the site for automotive plants. Each time the site was considered, but rejected. AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston said this agreement is a significant step towards landing a major industry in this part of the state.

“This is exactly the kind of cooperation that makes Arkansas an attractive place for businesses to locate and grow,” he said. “Companies look for areas where they can confidently partner with communities and build on their strengths.”