The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced Thursday (Sept. 17) a $5,325,649 investment that will boost economic development for Arkansas communities and residents. The investment will be matched by $23.6 million and will attract an additional $176.7 million in leveraged private investment (LPI) into the state, the DRA said.
The 16 new investment projects will improve water and sewer systems, update transportation infrastructure, support innovative job training, and better healthcare services in communities across Arkansas. These projects are expected to create or retain 4,432 jobs, train 5,081 individuals, and affect over 6,300 families.
“The Delta Regional Authority’s $5.3 million investment into 16 critical projects will strengthen economic success in the Arkansas Delta by improving vital infrastructure and creating opportunities to foster workforce development,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell. “These investments highlight the importance of local and regional public-private partnerships in realizing the long-term success of infrastructure, business, and workforce projects to spur job growth and ultimately improve business competitiveness in the region. I would like to thank Governor Hutchinson, Senator Boozman, Senator Cotton, and the entire Arkansas Congressional delegation for their continued support and commitment to the Delta Regional Authority and our work to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those residing in our region.”
Funding for these projects is provided by the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP), which provides direct investment into community-based and regional projects to support basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce training and education, and small businesses development with an emphasis on entrepreneurship, and the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF), which targets physical infrastructure projects that help build safer, more resilient communities in the Delta region.
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 grant addresses many basic infrastructure deficiencies in the day-to-day life of people in the Delta. The projects that the Delta Regional Authority chose to support reflect the leadership’s deep understanding of what the communities need to improve their quality of life,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
The following projects were funded by CIF:
The city of Jonesboro will use DRA funds to expand rail infrastructure at Craighead Technology Park. This $509,000 investment is projected to create 105 new jobs and retain 405 jobs. The total investment will be $2.5 million.
The Pulaski County government will use DRA funds to improve transportation components at the Little Rock Port Authority Industrial Park. This $2 million investment is projected to create 1,000 new jobs. The total investment on this project is $166 million.
The following projects were funded by SEDAP:
The city of Caraway will use DRA funds to improve the city’s water storage tank to add a mechanical mixer and install an overflow pipe and manway to increase safety for local residents. This $183,275 investment is projected to affect 529 families.
Hughes will use $206,000 in DRA funds to rebuild sewage treatment sand filters to help meet state-mandated discharge requirements. This investment is projected to affect 650 families.
Trumann will use $117,881 in DRA funds to replace two water pumps to support local residents, promote and retain jobs, and encourage commercial and tourist development. This investment is projected to affect 2,616 families.
Warren will use $296,515 in DRA funds to install two water pump stations along Highway 278 to support local residents and allow for future economic development and expansion. This investment is projected to create 80 new jobs, retain 120 jobs, and affect 2,273 families.
The Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District will use $155,051 in DRA funds to construct a railroad siding to maximize existing rail transportation and increase transportation efficiency. This investment is projected to retain three jobs.
Augusta will use $228,634 in DRA funds to replace an existing roof and insulation and install electrical improvements on an agricultural produce storing facility. This investment is projected to create four new jobs and retain 47 jobs.
The World Services for the Blind will use $211,856 in DRA funds to place Arkansas residents who are blind and visually impaired in medical billing jobs in 27 medical facilities across 41 distressed Arkansas counties. This investment is projected to create 27 new jobs and train 81 individuals.
The Arkansas Rural Health Partnership will use $35,000 in DRA funds to increase and improve the workforce for hospitals, rural health clinics, and community health centers throughout the Arkansas Delta region. This investment is projected to create 250 new jobs, retain 2,000 jobs, and train 5,000 individuals.
Sharp County will use $307,000 in DRA funds to renovate and upgrade a 277,000 square foot building to support business development. This investment is projected to create 200 new jobs.
The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas will use $100,000 DRA funds to create capacity around a Women’s Regional Economic Mobility Hub to support the economic mobility of women business owners in Arkansas, particularly low-income women and women of color. This investment is projected to create one new job and retain 25 jobs.
The Helena-West Helena/Phillips County Port Authority will use $528,922 in DRA funds to rehabilitate a portion of the rail and road systems serving Helena Harbor to enhance the ability of existing business to expand and create new jobs. This investment is projected to create 15 new jobs and retain 100 jobs.
The Blytheville-Gosnell Regional Airport Authority will use $182,765 in DRA funds to upgrade the jet fuel delivery system required by major aviation companies. This investment is projected to retain 50 jobs.
Crawfordsville will use $206,000 in DRA funds to repair two elevated water storage tanks to improve services for local residents and businesses. This investment is projected to affect 114 families.
Maynard will use $57,750 in DRA funds to install a cascade aerator and high service pumps to improve services for local residents and businesses. This investment is projected to affect 187 families.