Members of the Economic Development Cooperation of Clark County entertained multiple economic development updates during their recent monthly meeting.

Members of the Economic Development Cooperation of Clark County entertained multiple economic development updates during their recent monthly meeting.
According to Stephen Bell, president/CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce, Ray Dillon, former president and CEO of Deltic Timber Corp., has been hired as a consultant by Sun Bio to help with their pulp mill project in Clark County, members of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County heard Tuesday at their monthly meeting.
Dillon has worked more than 40 years in the paper and forest products industry, according to Stephen Bell, president/CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce. Dillon was president of Deltic Timber from 2003 until October 2016.
He has worked with Sun Bio in the past and Bell said he brings a lot of experience and contacts that can help the project move forward.
Bell also reported that he, along with Arkadelphia City Manager Gary Brinkley, City Engineer Steward Noland, Utilities Manager David Green and Clark County Judge Troy Tucker, recently met with the 
Arkansas Natural Resource Commission to discuss securing state bonds to pay for the water and sewer portion of the Sun Bio project.
According to Bell, the ANRC’s biennium has started. He also noted Gov. Asa Hutchinson has approved $50 million in bonds that can be issued during the current biennium. 
Of the $50 million approved, it was reported that $30 million would be used towards the Sun Bio project.
“That’s actually $15 million short of what the actual cost would be,” Bell said.
According to Bell, Noland has arranged meetings with CoBank, who works with cooperatives across the nation, to arrange additional financing for the water and sewer project. Representatives with CoBank are expected to be in Arkadelphia in the coming weeks to meet with city officials to discuss financing.
An additional component of the project, involving the disposal of the plant’s wastewater, is a substantial portion of the project. Bell noted that federal funds are available to assist with this portion.
In addition, a discussion was held with ANRC regarding the possibility of creating a landfill near the Sun Bio plant site.
Bell said Sun Bio is still waiting to receive its air permit before it can actually begin construction on the mill.
“Sun Paper has not received their computer modeling yet, but it has been completed. Sun Paper hired Pöyry to do the air permit modeling. It really looks like a dispute between Pöyry and their two subcontractors who built the computer models,” said Bell.
According to Bell, Pöyry subcontractors were initially told by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality that they did not have to include the Caney Creek Wilderness area in their computer models. They were then told by the ADEQ that the Caney Creek Wilderness area was needed in the computer modeling because it is within a 100-mile radius of the Clark County mill site.
The discrepancy led to a breakdown in communication between Pöyry and their subcontractors.
According to Bell, Sun Paper has paid Pöyry for the work done on air permit modeling and is now waiting for the results to be provided to them. 
Other items addressed:
• The EDCCC approved the distribution of $75,000 to the Southwest Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority to authorize Union Pacific to begin design work on the two switches on UP mainline.
The funds will be considered part of the $10 million Clark County has pledged as an incentive for Sun Bio.
• Work continues on the Arkadelphia Poultry Plant. According to Bell, Pittman Farms purchased the plant and has hired a company to work on refrigeration for the plant and property maintenance.
• The EDCCC approved the distribution of $30,095.15 to the SWARIA for engineering and design work on the public transload facility. 
According to Greg Aud of the SWARIA, the reimbursement process for phase I of the project has been started by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
The second EDA grant will cover the cross dock and the parking lot for the public transload facility.

--