Members of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County were given an update on the progress of the Sun Bio mill during its monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Members of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County were given an update on the progress of the Sun Bio mill during its monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon.
According to Stephen Bell, president/CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce, Sun Bio Material has added several members to its project team.
Bell also reported that Grace Yin of Sun Bio was in Arkadelphia last week. During a meeting with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, it was noted the air permit is expected to be delayed an additional four weeks.
“We’re looking at getting the air permit in December,” said Bell.
According to Bell, the delay is attributed to an issue collecting the necessary data as opposed to meeting the environmental regulations.
“It goes back to the Caney Creek wilderness area, which is in the Ouachita National Forest. If you’re within 100 miles of that site, it puts you in a Class One designation, and they require you to collect more data,” Bell explained.
Despite the delay in the air permit, Bell noted that Sun Bio representatives are still hopeful to break ground on the mill during the spring of 2018.
“Mr. Ying wants to do March. They have interviewed a number of engineers for the final engineering part,” said Bell.
In addition, Bell said work continues on workforce development.
According to Bell, Henderson State University continues its work with the College of the Ouachitas in Malvern to develop a program that will provide the necessary training the workforce would need.
Bell noted the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope had contacted the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to express its interest in meeting with Sun Bio representatives to discuss its services in terms of workforce training.
Meetings have also taken place with attorneys to address the memorandum of understanding between Sun Bio and the City of Arkadelphia regarding the water and sewer portion of the project.
“I think we’ve worked out the final details of that and everyone is in agreement,” Bell said.
According to Bell, Sun Bio continues to work on its end of the project, while local and state representatives work on their part.
“Sun Bio is constantly working on other things they want to do,” said Bell.
In addition, Bell said work continues on providing a landfill for Sun Bio. Bell, along with Clark County Judge Troy Tucker and Arkadelphia City Manager Gary Brinkley have met with the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to discuss the possibility of securing bonds for the construction of the landfill.
“I think we had a great meeting. You can bond the construction of the landfill through the state, and you can pay those bonds back with future revenue of the landfill,” Bell explained.
 
OTHER PROJECTS:
• Bell reported that Clark County had been eliminated from a potential project.
The company would make jet fuel out of timber slash.
“I did have a very good conversation of the owner of the company. He said they loved the community and the site. Their concern was being further south to be closer to the refinery,” said Bell.
• Bell said a representative from the Arkadelphia Poultry Plant is expected to be in Arkadelphia soon.
“We have given him a list of people who can work on his refrigeration and of someone who can maintain his property,” Bell said.

The plant is expected to be open in March.