DRA invests $500,000 in Cleveland, Lawrence counties for jobs, infrastructure

DRA invests $500,000 in Cleveland, Lawrence counties for jobs, infrastructure
Written by: The Commercial
Published by: The Commercial 

The Delta Regional Authority and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that $500,000 in new DRA investments will help create nearly 30 new jobs and retain another 58 jobs in Cleveland and Lawrence counties.

DRA’s investments will strengthen Arkansas’ infrastructure, workforce and economy, according to the March 29 announcement.

In Cleveland County, DRA is investing $251,093 to improve water infrastructure to support the relocation and expansion of two businesses, including extending water service to a lumber mill that is expanding along U.S. 79, according to the release.

The enhanced water system will also allow a poultry farm to expand operations and double its capacity. About 20 new jobs will be created and another 13 jobs will be retained by the two businesses. Water improvements also will benefit 650 families in the area, according to the release.

“Investment in infrastructure is vital if we are to grow our local economies and provide opportunity for the people of Arkansas,” U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman said. “This investment does both in Cleveland County, supporting the hard-working men and women who will work in these expanded businesses.”

In Lawrence County, DRA will invest $250,000 to pave County Road 210, currently a gravel road. The infrastructure improvement also will support growing businesses in Black Rock. The business is projected to add 10 to 15 new jobs and retain another 45 jobs, according to the release.

The project will also benefit residents on the road by providing paved access to their homes and reducing dust pollution created by increased truck traffic serving the facility.

“I am grateful for the continued investment the Delta Regional Authority makes in rural Arkansas,” U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford said. “Their efforts regularly improve the lives and economic well-being of my constituents through their focus on critical infrastructure.”

Chris Caldwell is federal co-chairman of DRA.

“These investments align with DRA’s primary goal of investing in infrastructure that supports growth in Delta communities,” Caldwell said. “DRA is committed to making a significant economic impact and delivering the greatest return in rural areas in Arkansas and across the region.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said DRA’s investments are important to the continued economic growth of the state and make a real difference in rural areas like Cleveland and Lawrence counties.

“Improving water systems and rural roads are vital infrastructure investments that support local business expansion and job growth,” Hutchinson said.

The investments were made through the program partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Both investments support DRA’s primary mission to invest in basic public infrastructure that strengthens economic development and job growth in rural areas.

In 2017, DRA invested $2.8 million in nine Arkansas projects. Combined with public and private investments, the total investment in the state reached $25.5 million and helped create or retain nearly 1,200 jobs, according to the release.

“Economic growth and development come from making smart investments that help lay the groundwork for or improve upon existing infrastructure that businesses need to thrive,” said Sen. John Boozman. “These projects will help hardworking Arkansans and businesses that support and contribute to their local economies. I appreciate the DRA’s commitment to helping Delta communities like those in Cleveland and Lawrence counties benefit from opportunities to expand infrastructure and spur future economic activity.”

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