The Delta Regional Authority released a little over $2 million for 12 projects in Arkansas on Tuesday (Oct. 16).
The economic development projects cover a range of investments from sewer and water services to workforce training to healthcare and will help create or retain 179 jobs.
“DRA’s investments will promote economic development opportunities across the Natural State by supporting infrastructure improvements that will lead to more jobs and better better healthcare services in Arkansas’s rural communities,” said Chris Caldwell, DRA executive director. “Every time we invest in critical infrastructure improvements, we are making a commitment to improving lives, growing jobs and enhancing economic competitiveness across the Delta region.”
According to the DRA, the projects include:
City of Wilson: Water infrastructure improvements. DRA Investment: $275,000. Total Investment: $800,000. Wilson will use DRA funds to install new water lines from its treatment plant to serve two existing businesses and one new business. The improvements, which will improve life for 103 families, will also enhance fire safety and water management.
City of Newport: Existing business expansion. DRA Investment: $267,676. Total Investment: $2.9 million. Newport will use DRA funds to build a 25,000-square-foot healthcare educational facility that will be leased to Arkansas State University – Newport, which will train 216 nurses and others in related fields each year. Training programs will focus on nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, surgical technicians and patient care technicians for jobs that would be available locally at Unity Health Harris Medical Center.
City of Little Rock: Workforce training and development. DRA Investment: $256,565. Total Investment: $2.6 million. The Associated Industries of Arkansas will use DRA funds to purchase a new tractor and trailer to house the Be Pro Be Proud workforce training initiative that travels across Arkansas to promote technical and skilled professions to students. The initiative allows students, parents, teachers and the public to learn more about successful careers that are available in manufacturing, trucking and construction.
City of McGhee: Improved healthcare service. DRA Investment: $250,000. Total Investment: $300,080. McGhee Hospital will use DRA funds to buy and install new digital radiography equipment in the McGhee Family Clinic. The equipment is fully compatible with the hospital’s digital record system and will provide higher quality care to area residents from Desha, Dermott and northern Chicot counties. The initiative will create one new job and retain four others.
City of Helena-West Helena: Sewage treatment improvements. DRA Investment: $225,000. Total Investment: $425,000. Helena-West Helena will use DRA funds to repair exterior levee walls supporting treatment ponds in the city. The antiquated levees are deteriorating and a breach would cause untreated sewage to flow onto farmland and a nearby subdivision, and into the Mississippi River. The upgrade will protect area residents and businesses from unsafe and unsanitary conditions and improve life for 4,600 families.
City of El Dorado: Workforce training and development. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $291,778. South Arkansas Community College will use DRA funds to convert an existing building into the South Arkansas Center for the Culinary Arts. About 25 individuals will be trained for jobs in the culinary industry.
City of Altheimer: Wastewater system improvements. DRA Investment: $188,000. Total Investment: $193,939. Altheimer will use DRA funds to update its wastewater collection and treatment system by replacing four outdated and deteriorating pumps with new piping controls and electrical wiring to prevent sewage backups that would occur if the current system fails. The investment will improve life for 361 families.
City of Newark: Water system improvements. DRA Investment: $145,212. Total Investment: $10.1 Million. Newark will create 12 new jobs with installation of a new water line that will support a business expansion. The current water line must be relocated to eliminate damage during the installation of a railroad spur and equipment that will serve the business. About 486 families will see improved service with the new water line.
City of Wynne: Existing business expansion. DRA Investment: $87,167. Total Investment: $114,773. DRA funds will be used to help create 15 news jobs and retain 20 others by allowing a local business to hook up to Wynne’s sewer system. The rice mill now operates on a septic tank that will not accommodate expansion of the business. The mill will gain more efficient and improved service by connecting directly to the city system.
City Of McCrory: Wastewater system improvements. DRA Investment: $80,750. Total Investment: $94,989. McCrory will upgrade its lift station, an improvement that will help retain 127 jobs and improve life for 436 families. The current lift station is deteriorating and threatens to expose residents and businesses to raw sewage.
Town of Datto: Wastewater system improvements. DRA Investment: $42,100. Total Investment: $848,100. Datto residents are currently unable to flush toilets, do laundry or shower during heavy-rain events. With DRA’s investment, the town will build a new wastewater collection system, providing reliable and safe wastewater collection; about 40 families will see their lives improved.
City of St. Charles: Water and sewer system improvements. DRA Investment: $23,155. Total Investment: $43,155. St. Charles will extend water and sewer lines to provide service to seven families along Crabtree Lane.
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.