Because UP now requires additional switch, EDCCC's $3.2 million grant will not cover the now-$5 million project.
The Economic Development Corporation of Clark County learned Tuesday afternoon that funding is still being sought for completion of the Transload Facility. According to Shawnie Carrier, President and CEO of the Arkadelphia Alliance, the extra funding is needed because Union Pacific now requires two switches and additional track. “When we applied for the EDA grant, Union Pacific only required one switch,” explained Carrier. After the $3.2 million grant was approved and the plans were resubmitted again, Carrier and others learned of the new requirements. “We have three years to use the grant,” said Carrier. “We just started year two so we have this year to find additional funding.” Carrier said she has been working with engineer Jerry Kelso to try to find additional funding. “One of the main things we're going to have to have is a feasibility study to be able get some financing,” Carrier said. Carrier said it is important that the additional funding be acquired to avoid losing the grant. Carrier said she did not know an extra railroad switch would be required. Because of these changes, the project is now approximately $5 million. Other items addressed Tuesday: • Carrier gave an update on “Project X.” “I had a representative from China here three weeks ago,” said Carrier. During the visit, Carrier showed the representative around Arkadelphia and Clark County. Carrier said the representative was very favorable of Clark County and the site. “We're still moving forward, they're just very slow to pull the trigger,” Carrier said. According to Carrier, Arkansas — specifically southwest Arkansas — is where “Project X” would like to be. “I feel like now it's just up to them to pull the trigger — this is a big deal,” said Carrier. • Trent Evans presented a pictometry to members of the EDCCC. The presentation was given because aerial photos of buildings and land throughout the county need to be updated. • Members also had discussion of the Ouachita River Bridge Project. “We're going to get a bridge, period exclamation point for everyone who lives east of the river,” said Bill Wright. However, Wright and other community leaders are trying to persuade the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and others to consider another location for the new bridge's construction. Recently the Arkadelphia City Board approved a resolution to submit to the AHTD requesting the bridge be taken further south for construction. This request was made primarily to reduce the number of large trucks that travel through the downtown area.