By Joel Phelps
Plans are under way to provide utilities to Clark County’s 1,000-acre Super Site after officials on Tuesday got the nod to pursue the costs associated with the undertaking.
J.L. Griffin, interim CEO of the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County, proposed to a bare quorum that he begin the process of cost estimation for a project that will pipe water and sewer beneath Highway 67 to the Super Site.
Griffin said there is a prospect interested in properties owned by the Clark County Industrial Council as well as the EDCCC’s Super Site. The initial 1/4 mile would connect the industrial park to the Super Site’s southeastern-most corner off of Whippoorwill Lane.
“Anyone going on this Super Site is gonna have to have water and sewer,” Griffin said. “I think it should have been done a long time ago.” Griffin said the addition of utilities would also help certify the site. The project could cost upward to $100,000, but Griffin estimated it could be as low as $50,000.
Arkadelphia City Manager Gary Brinkley said boring a line beneath an existing right-of-way usually takes a while to receive approval from the state’s Department of Transportation. “If it’s something you want to do, you really want to start that process as soon as possible,” Brinkley said, offering to share engineers to get started on the paperwork.
Projects Yellow Pine and Cupcake are are both “viable” projects that could bring jobs to Clark County, Griffin announced. While he did voice concern that Yellow Pine might have been “fading,” that unnamed company had other irons in the fire since their last communication with Griffin. Arkansas is one of three states Yellow Pine is considering. “They are coming to the United States, I can tell you that,” Griffin said.
Cupcake, whose headquarters have been revealed as being in the U.S., is still interested in locating in Clark County, Griffin said. “There’s been activity” in the Danfoss building. “We’re hoping for something to be announced in two or three weeks.”
New EDCCC members
There are three vacant positions to be filled on the 15-member volunteer board. County Judge Troy Tucker appoints those members, with final approval coming from the Quorum Court. The terms of Allen Morgan, Elton Buck and Nathan Price have expired.
The Rev. Johnny Harris, a citizen in attendance, asked Tucker about the process for getting appointed. Tucker explained that process — “Let me know that you are interested” — to which Harris replied, “I am.”
Sales tax usage
Griffin updated the board on the Quorum Court’s recent nod to the EDCCC’s guidelines on how the new 1/2-cent economic development sales tax can be spent. Tucker echoed that the court has passed the first reading of the ordinance establishing those rules, and justices have the option to speed through the final readings by suspending the Robert’s Rules of Order at its next meeting.
There are proposals to link Arkadelphia’s Feaster Trail to DeSoto Bluff via a boardwalk, as well as to create a 4-mile trail at the Gurdon Light. Griffin said there are easements still being worked through to make the trails happen.
Griffin said the next step is to choose an engineering firm. The end goal of the trails is to link Feaster to Caddo Valley and DeGray Lake and falls under a master plan outlined in the Clark County Strategic Plan.
Tucker said officials have taken firms on tours of the locations they’re hoping to connect. “It’s going to be huge,” he said. “It’ll take years to do it but we’ve to start somewhere.”
Attending citizen Martha Dixon inquired whether adding trails would create jobs. Griffin said tourism is part of the puzzle that is economic development, as the people who use the trails are also going to spend money locally. “If restaurants get a lot busier they have to hire more people,” he said, adding those who visit DeGray also stay in local hotels.
But connecting Feaster to DeSoto, he added, is mainly for the benefit of local residents.
Toward the meeting’s conclusion, Harris took issue with the EDCCC’s guidelines that made it out of a subcommittee and were approved by the Quorum Court. Discussion between Harris and Eric Hughes, EDCCC’s vice-chair, grew tense as they talked back and forth about the guidelines and an application process yet to be determined for applicants wishing to receive grants to create or retain jobs.
Categories: City & County