By Saybra Scott
The Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and EDCCC has taken big steps this year to best prepare the supersite for potential clients. Tours have been given to view the supersite and some things arose that gave the organization some direction in how to make their site more appealing to companies looking to locate here.
Competitive Communities Initiative Underway
One of the first initiatives taken was meeting with the Arkansas Economic Development Commision to begin work on the Competitive Communities Initiative (CCI). Implemented at the community level, the evaluation will provide for a third-party assessment and recommendations for improving community competitiveness, leading to the potential for more investments, jobs and economic growth. The main resource we have to do that is the Clark County Industrial Park Supersite. The CCI can increase the competitive viability of sites and buildings, so this would be perfect for the supersite. This is a long process and involves working closely with energy providers such as South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Entergy. Once the CCI designation is reached, the site would potentially benefit from the following:
- Valuable engagement with key community and business development partners
- Community recognition by the Governor
- Recognition by AEDC via website, social media and the AEDC newsletter
- Recognition by Utility Partner(s)
- Included in more RFI submissions
- Opportunity for more investments, jobs and economic growth
More on the Competitive Communities Initiative can be found here. This process is still undergoing but planned to be completed next year in 2022.
Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and South Central Arkansas Electric Coop Partnership
While this process is taking place, other projects are in action at the supersite in Gum Springs. The Arkadelphia Alliance decided after one specific tour that viewability of the supersite held high importance. During site tours, it is important for site selectors to have a good idea of what they will be potentially building on. Decision makers can be better impressed if they can see the land they are going to be working with. For example, heavily wooded areas could be a negative for a potential site. This could drive costs up for companies and delay project time.
With this information, the Arkadelphia Alliance & EDCCC and South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative decided to partner together and start clearing some patches of trees that blocked viewpoints of the supersite. Clearing up wooded areas will now allow site selectors to see further beyond and get a better view of the land to build on. This will also drive costs down for the company if they decide to locate on the supersite which can be see as an incentive to build here. Colby Wells, CEO of South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative, and J.L. Griffin, Interim President of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance, are working together in cooperation with a contractor that has a high power mulcher. The mulcher helps with the visibility of the supersite. Some of the work can be seen from Highway 67 in Gum Springs.
The Arkadelphia Alliance is happy to have a good relationship with South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative so that this project can be completed. There are future plans in continuing getting the supersite more aesthetically pleasing and site-ready. Those will be determined later on.
About Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce
Our mission is to secure opportunities for job creation with existing industries while expanding our job market by actively soliciting new industries to foster economic growth in Clark County.