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Spotlights - Economic Development

Posted on: November 1, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Economic growth and job improvement on the rise in Arkansas, following business developments

West Memphis Arkansas Business Boom Arkansas Economic Development Commission 1,400 new jobs

By: Kirstin Garriss

FOX 13 NEWS  • Updated:

Members of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said it is unusual to have so many announcements in such a short amount of time. 

“It just happened that the agreements were ready to be signed and announced in this timeframe. It didn't “just happen” that they came about though. It takes a dedicated team working on a daily basis to recruit new business, support Arkansas’s existing companies, and assist in expansion when companies are ready,” said Mike Preston, Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission in a statement to FOX13.

Some of those developments were in the Delta region. 

One of those was the new Dragon Woodland Sawmill in Helena-West Helena which was a $10 million investment creating 75 new jobs. Another one was the $33 million Coca-Cola Bottling expansion in West Memphis.

“We're proud that the business announcements were spread across the state, but also happy to see two in the Delta region - Coca-Cola and Dragon Woodland Sawmill. We focus on all areas of the state in a number of target industries that we know are successful in Arkansas – those include food and beverage manufacturing, along with the paper and timber industry,” said Preston in a written statement.

“We’re doing the fundamentals correctly like infrastructure development, building roads where we can into sites, developing industrial properties, our workforce narrative,” said Phillip Sorrill, Director of Economic Development for West Memphis. 

He said city’s proximity to Downtown Memphis is another selling point. 

“People in Memphis will drive to West Memphis and work so we enjoy the benefits of having a much broader, diverse workforce within in a 30 minute drive time of our employment center so that helps us tremendously,” Sorrill said.

Sorrill said they have three active for economic development projects in the works right now.

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