LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Delta Regional Authority on Monday said the DRA and its partners are investing about $26 million in projects aimed at strengthening Arkansas’s infrastructure, workforce and economy.
DRA Federal C0-Chairman Chris Masingill said the DRA is investing $3.2 million in the projects and leveraging those dollars for about $23 million in additional investments from other sources. The projects are expected to create or allow the retention of 650 jobs.
“These investments will strengthen Arkansas’ infrastructure, they will improve the talents and skills of our workforce, help support entrepreneurs and small business owners, they will help attract and grow companies and continue to (support) good paying jobs right here in the Delta region of Arkansas,” Masingill said during a news conference in the state Capitol.
Hutchinson called the announcement “good news” for the state.
“We have limited resources, access to capital. But whenever you can marshal them together with what the state has to offer, with what Delta Regional Authority has to offer, and coordinate in the investments, then you maximize that.”
The Arkansas projects and the investment amounts are:
• Establish Consortium for Medical Education in the Delta, or C-MED, the first Delta community-based clinical education consortium with medical and health institutions. DRA investment $200,000, total Investment: $302,500. The program will create three new medical education positions in each of five accredited hospitals and about 30 new residency slots and will produce 10 new primary care physicians in the region annually.
• Restore Hope Delta, an initiative to reduce the number of children in foster care and reverse the state’s growing rate of incarceration. DRA investment $119,000, total investment $1.1 million.
• Extension of Scogin Drive in Monticello to connect with the Health and Education Complex. DRA investment $200,000, total investment $3.95 million.
• Paving of Delta Heritage Trail Access Road in Arkansas City. DRA investment $194,853.
• Construction of the South Arkansas Community College Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in El Dorado. DRA investment $200,000, total investment $1.8 million. Eight companies have committed to creating approximately 150 jobs and retaining about 400 jobs as result of the investment.
• Improvements to River Ridge Access Road and a parking lot accommodate River Ridge Equipment n Cleveland County. DRA investment $100,000. The company has committed to creating at least three new jobs in the Cleveland County area.
• Construction of a new waste water treatment facility in Bull Shoals. DRA investment $500,000, total investment $8.4 million. The project is expected to allow the city to retain six jobs.
• Rehabilitation of city sewer pumps and a rural sewage system in a Federal Housing Administration housing project in Marvell. DRA investment $855,500. The proposed is expected to create or retain six jobs.
• Expansion of Excel Boats in Stone County. DRA investment $200,467, total investment $1.1 million. Stone County will construct additional manufacturing space for Excel Boat Company in order to assist in their expansion efforts. The project will allow the company to create 20 new jobs and retain 40.
• Improvements to the Valley Food Pantry in Cherry Valley. DRA investment $37,275, total investment $44,275.
• Construction of an aquatics and multipurpose center in Pine Bluff. DRA investment $150,000, total investment $6.6 million. The city will create 10 full-time, permanent jobs at the center.
• Repairs to the city sewer system in Clarendon. DRA investment $25,200, total investment $25,200.
• Creation of three new Environmental And Space Technologies, or EAST, Initiative programs in the Arkansas Delta. DRA investment $158,000, total investment $375,000.
• Purchase and installation of three pieces of mammography equipment for Chicot Memorial Medical Center. DRA investment $105,000, total investment $271,464.
• Purchase of radiology equipment for the new McGehee Rural Health Clinic. DRA investment $200,000, total investment $200,000.
The investments were made primarily through the DRA States’ Economic Development Assistance Program, the agency’s main federal funding program that invests in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, and small business and entrepreneurship, and health access projects in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region.