Multiple economic development reports were presented to members of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County Tuesday afternoon.

Multiple economic development reports were presented to members of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County Tuesday afternoon.
According to Stephen Bell, president/CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce, nearly all of the land needed for the proposed Sun Bio Material Company mill site has been purchased and closed on.
Bell noted that some of the trees on the mill site have already been cleared. 
“We’ve done quite a bit of work clearing trees. There is definitely a site to go look at,” said Bell.
Bell said work continues with the City of Arkadelphia to supply water to the mill from the Ouachita River. Sun Bio is eligible for $75-million in state bonds through the Arkansas Natural Resource Commission. The funds will allow Sun Bio to build the water and sewer portion of the project at a low interest rate.
“We’re working with the city attorney and a bond attorney in Little Rock to make sure that we do everything legally so that Sun Bio can take advantage of the low interest rates on the state bonds,” said Bell.
According to Bell, Sun Bio has interviewed engineering firms for the building and construction of the water and sewer portion of the project.
In addition, Bell said work proceeds with workforce training.
“That’s an ongoing process that we have,” said Bell.
According to Bell, plans for construction of the mill are in still the pre-engineering and permitting stage.
“What we are waiting on is the air permit. We expect that at the end of August or first of September,” Bell said. 
Once the air permit is received, Bell said work can move forward on construction, which is likely to begin around March 2018.
Bell noted the air permit is the last permit needed to begin construction.
“You can’t build any permanent structures on the site until you have the air permit. Once we get that, then you can see a lot of things happening,” said Bell.
In addition, Bell said Sun Bio has provided its financials to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission as a requirement to receive state incentives.
“They are working on stuff separate from what we are doing. There are multiple tracks going on,” Bell said.
Poultry plant
In addition, Bell said funds have been transmitted from a Fresno, Calif. company to purchase the Arkadelphia Poultry Plant.
“We have a new owner of the poultry plant. They made a site visit and plan to do some clean up work,” said Bell.
Bell hopes the plant will be open for business later this year.
Property Purchase
According to Bell, the Clark County Industrial Council recently met and agreed to make an offer to HITCO Carbon Composites for the purchase of some of its property. The acquisition of the property will allow the rail spur to extend from the Union Pacific mainline across the street to the public transload facility and the Sun Bio site.
“The Clark County Industrial Council has their own money and they have recently voted to make an offer to HITCO,” said Bell.
In addition, Bell noted the CCIC and Southwest Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority has a $1-million Economic Development Administration grant for the rail spur.
“Because the project is moving along at a great pace, they have now said there is another $2 million dollars that’s available,” said Bell.
According to Bell, the Intermodal Authority and CCIC have submitted an application to the EDA for the additional funds.
“EDA has funds that they approve and send out to communities around the country. We’ll know pretty quickly if we’re approved for the additional $2 million dollars. We feel pretty good about it, but we just have to wait and see. It would be a big help to have an additional $2 million on the track and on the rail spur,” Bell said.
Turning his attention to a proposed bypass, Bell said the highway director is scheduled to be in Arkadelphia in August for a meeting with Clark County Judge Troy Tucker and Arkadelphia City Manager Gary Brinkley to discuss the proposal.
“I do know we’re in the pipeline to have things to take place. The highway department is going to do a study of the right-of-way and environmental for the bypass. That’s scheduled to take place in 2018. It’s not to build it, but to come in and study it,” Bell explained.
In addition, the widening of Pine Street in the highway department’s pipeline for 2020.