CLARKSDALE, MS – On Monday, the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) made a $2,228,104 investment that will strengthen public infrastructure and train the next generation of workforce to grow the region’s economy and create jobs, DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced.


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.


Projects in Pine Bluff and Monticello were among those who will be receiving investment funds.


“DRA’s mission is to support economic development by making investments into the physical infrastructure and human capital of the Delta region,” said Chairman Caldwell. “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,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR). “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.”


Arkansas’s congressional delegation issued the following statements:


“This support from the DRA will help meet the needs of Arkansas Delta communities through targeted investments. These projects will create jobs, grow the economy and improve quality of life for Arkansans,” said U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR). “I’m proud to support DRA and its commitment to advance economic opportunities in the region.”


“The Delta Reginal Authority’s continued investment in the Natural State will help improve Arkansas’s infrastructure and increase access to job training programs and healthcare services in rural areas,” said U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR).


“Infrastructure is a vital ingredient to economic growth, but Washington struggles to see the need to invest in rural infrastructure. This investment is welcome news and will create more jobs, economic growth, and generally improve life in Arkansas,” said Congressman Rick Crawford (R – 1st District).


“The jobs created from this investment by the Delta Regional Authority are a major boost for our local economies in central Arkansas. Bringing an air ambulance helicopter to Fairfield Bay will result in increased capital investments, new high paying jobs, and a critical, life-saving service to the community,” Congressman French Hill (R – 2nd District) said.


“These investments are fantastic news for Arkansas, and I look forward to seeing the new developments that emerge as a result of the Pine Bluff Economic Research Center expansion. I’m grateful for DRA’s continued investment in Arkansas communities,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman (R – 4th District).


ARKANSAS INVESTMENT PROJECTS


Helena-West Helena Transportation Improvements | Helena-West Helena, AR: 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


Monticello Railroad Overpass Expansion | Monticello, AR: 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


Pine Bluff Economic Research Center Expansion | Pine Bluff, AR: 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


Marshall Sewer System Expansion | Marshall, AR: 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


Wilmar Sewer Treatment Plant Improvements | Wilmar, AR: 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 Nursing Program Expansion | Pocahontas, AR: 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


Fairfield Bay Medical Helicopter Hangar | Fairfield Bay, AR: 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


Walnut Ridge Broadband Improvements | Walnut Ridge, AR: 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


About the Delta Regional Authority


Established in 2000 by Congress, the Delta Regional Authority makes strategic investments of federal appropriations into the physical and human infrastructure of Delta communities. Led by the Delta Regional Authority Board-comprised of the Federal Co-Chairman, appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and the governors of the eight states-the Delta Regional Authority fosters local and regional partnerships that address economic and social challenges to ultimately strengthen the Delta economy and the quality of life for Delta residents. The Delta Regional Authority works to improve regional economic opportunity by helping to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of the 10 million people who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region.