Members of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County witnessed a visual layout of the future railroad system for Sun Bio Material Company and learned of the steps to enhance workforce development in the community during their Tuesday meeting.

Members of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County witnessed a visual layout of the future railroad system for Sun Bio Material Company and learned of the steps to enhance workforce development in the community during their Tuesday meeting.
According to Stephen Bell, president/CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce, representatives from Sun Bio Material (U.S.) Company, formerly known as Shandong Sun Paper, are in Arkadelphia for meetings this week.
Work continues with Pöyry, the engineering firm from Finland, on the design of the mill. Bell showed photographs to the EDCCC Board of what some of the larger pieces of the mill will look like.
“Some of the pieces are extremely large,” said Bell.
Discussions have taken place to determine how the pieces will be transported from Europe to the United States.
“They have a logistics company visiting with Sun Bio to come up with a way to ship the material here,” Bell said.
In addition, Bell said emphasis has been placed by local representatives on workforce development.
According to Bell, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission awarded funds in 1983 to a Reuse Committee made up of representatives of Clark County and the City of Arkadelphia.
Bell noted EDCCC member Eric Hughes investigated to see if some of the remaining funds from 1983 could be used for workforce development.
“The Reuse Committee had a meeting. They are going to spend some money getting three simulators at the Gurdon Public Schools,” said Bell.
According to Bell, the simulators will be used to train students on how to operate logging equipment.
In addition, Bell said local representatives are working with Bud McMillion of the Arkadelphia High School Engineering Program.
Bell said Hughes worked with the Reuse Committee to purchase a FANUC robot to train the students on how to operate it.
“We’re very excited to hear that the Arkadelphia School District is going to get one of these robots to train kids,” said Bell.
According to Hughes, Clark County Judge Troy Tucker and Arkadelphia Mayor James Calhoun were instrumental in working with the Reuse Committee and making sure the funds were used to purchase the necessary equipment for the school districts.
Hughes noted the funds total approximately $135,000 and will be distributed equally between the two school districts.
While the funds were helpful to Gurdon Public Schools, Hughes noted another $75,000 is still needed to completely purchase all the simulator equipment.
In addition, Hughes said certifications to use the equipment are not site specific and can be shared with Arkadelphia and Centerpoint school districts.
According to Bell, soil borings are scheduled for the site of a potential landfill near the Sun Bio site.
Once it starts, Bell believes construction will take approximately 18 to 24 months to complete.
Other items addressed:
• Bell reported work on the Arkadelphia Poultry Plant is “very active.” Bell was not able to provide a date of when the company will be open.
• Bell reported that the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance had submitted a proposal to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for a project from a consulting firm called Goldsmith Strategy.