The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) has made a $2,228,104 investment in public infrastructure and workforce training to grow the region’s economy and create jobs, DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Monday (Oct. 7).
Eight new investments will provide funding for projects supporting water and sewer system improvements, innovative job training programs, and crucial healthcare services in communities across Arkansas through DRA and other public and private resources.
“DRA’s mission is to support economic development by making investments into the physical infrastructure and human capital of the Delta region,” Caldwell said. “These investments will provide much needed improvements to water and sewer systems, medical facilities, and industry-driven workforce training programs to provide greater economic opportunities for Arkansas residents and businesses.”
Funding for these projects is provided by the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program, DRA’s flagship grant program that makes strategic investments into projects supporting basic public infrastructure, transportation improvements, workforce training and education, and business development with an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
DRA coordinates directly with the Office of the Governor for the state of Arkansas and six local development districts in the state for program funding implementation.
“This $2.2 million grant from the Delta Regional Authority helps Arkansans in our rural communities. The money will go to improve street safety, improve and expand sewer systems, enhance emergency medical response, provide high-speed internet and better phone service, and increase opportunities for many who want to pursue a nursing degree,” Hutchinson said. “The grant will allow communities to retain or create nearly 100 jobs, provide job training for 150 people, and improve life for 250 families. I am grateful for DRA’s thoughtful consideration of the best ways to make life better for the people who live in the Delta.”
The projects include:
The city of Helena-West Helena will use DRA funds to improve the transportation infrastructure on Washington Street to support the operations for existing industry and increase safety for local residents. This investment is projected to create 19 new jobs and retain 38. DRA investment: $589,000; total project investment: $10,589,000.
The city of Monticello will partner with Drew County and the Arkansas Department of Transportation and use DRA funds to construct a new railroad overpass to enhance safety and provide better connectivity for consumers. This investment is projected to train two individuals for in-demand careers. DRA investment: $509,000; total project investment: $8,109,000.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will use DRA funds to expand the programs and services provided through its Economic Research and Development Center (ERDC) and enhance the ERDC’s Institute for Economic, Business & Community Development. This investment is projected to create two new jobs and train 100 individuals. DRA investment: $295,000.
The city of Marshall will use DRA funds to extend its existing sewer lines to provide utility services for a new hotel and increase the capacity of other sewer lines providing services to an elementary school and an underserved apartment complex for the elderly. This investment is projected to create nine new jobs, retain five, and impact 40 families who will benefit from improved water and sewer services. DRA investment: $231,770.
The city of Wilmar will use DRA funds to renovate its existing sewer treatment plant to expand the system’s capacity and improve services for local residents and businesses. This investment is projected to impact 215 families who will benefit from improved water and sewer services. DRA investment: $200,000; total project investment: $950,000.
Black River Technical College will use DRA funds to construct a modular Allied Health nursing facility at the Paragould campus to serve as the instructional site for the Associate of Applied Science Traditional RN Pathway program. This investment is projected to create three new jobs, retain five, and train 50 individuals for in-demand careers. DRA investment: $153,139; total project investment: $1,209,847.
The city of Fairfield Bay will use DRA funds to enhance the Department of Public Safety by constructing a new hangar to accommodate emergency medical helicopter service for the region. This investment is projected to create 10 new jobs. DRA Investment: $145,431; total project investment: $160,990.
The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce will use DRA funds to install a buried fiber optic cable network to provide high-speed internet and phone service to the Walnut Ridge Industrial Park. DRA investment: $104,764.