Editor’s Note: “The Economic Development Side” originally appears in the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce’s weekly member e-newsletter. It is written by Rhonda Dishner, the Economic Development Alliance’s executive assistant.
Too. Much. Water.
Whether falling down in torrents from the skies or surging violently down the Arkansas River, too much water has been drenching this community in recent months.
And, yes, these crises of excess water do relate to economic and community development. But in a negative way because they are hindering development.
For instance, a construction project for a new industry in Jefferson Industrial Park has been delayed because of continued late winter and spring rains. For obvious reasons, the company is waiting for a prolonged period of sunny weather to bring in equipment to break ground.
Another building project that’s already underway in downtown Pine Bluff has experienced several stormy days that briefly halted work at the job site during a normally busy construction season.
And a preliminary access road into the site of a planned major project has been repaired in several places over the past few months as flash flooding has resulted in wash-outs, drainage issues and fallen trees.
Even beaver dams have backed up water that flooded property adjacent to a site.
Now we are facing potentially unprecedented river flooding that could inundate even more areas of our community this week. Additional residences could be severely impacted, as well as businesses, infrastructure, parks, etc.
Along with other local agencies and organizations, the Alliance is nervously monitoring the rising water. Staff members have already alerted port-area industries of the potential hazard. And they are being hopeful that the year 2019 doesn’t become synonymous with 1927 in discussions about historic river floods.
Times of crisis can bring unity. We’ve already seen that here in the aftermath of the recent tornado that came from out of nowhere. Now it’s a new, worsening crisis of water. As always, the community will pull together. But those sand bags clearly need some added prayers.