An update regarding the progress of the pending Sun Bio mill was presented to members of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County during their monthly meeting last week.

An update regarding the progress of the pending Sun Bio mill was presented to members of the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County during their monthly meeting last week.
According to Stephen Bell, president/CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce, representatives from Sun Bio are expected to be in Arkadelphia in the coming weeks for meetings.
“They are going to be bringing in companies to do the pre-engineering for the liner board portion of the project. They are going to talk to some construction companies and also some consultants about resubmitting the air permit,” Bell explained.
Bell noted the selection of engineering firm and the selection of a consultant to resubmit the air permit will be the primary focuses of the upcoming meetings.
According to Bell, Sun Bio Consultant Ray Dillion is expected to meet with representatives from Union Pacific regarding rail options to ship material in and out of the mill.
“There is a lot of activity on the Sun Bio,” said Bell, who added that local, state and Sun Bio representatives are anxious to get the project on track.
Once the information is submitted, Bell anticipates a 45-day waiting period for the air permit.
“The hold up is getting the specifications from the suppliers to put into the air permit,” Bell said.
Construction of the mill could start during the first quarter of 2019.
Bell said the water permit has been approved based on the plans of Sun Bio being a dissolving pulp mill. Now that the plans have been changed for the mill, the water permit can be amended to reflect the changes.
Bell reported that construction (dirt work) for the rail spur is expected to begin in May. The rail spur will provide access to the future Sun Bio mill, as well as to the transload facility, which will be located near the Clark County Industrial Park.
In addition, members of the EDCCC approved the payment of its annual dues in the amount of $6,714 with the Metro Little Rock Alliance.
According to Dr. Lewis Shepherd, the MLRA consists of 12 counties and provides a more regional approach regarding economic development.
Shepherd noted the MLRA has changed from a governing board of volunteers to a governing board of professional economic developers. In addition, Shepherd said the MLRA will become a marketing organization.
“We all agreed that those were the people that needed to be the leaders of the Metro Little Rock Alliance,” said Shepherd.
Shepherd and Eric Hughes of Arkadelphia will no longer serve on the MLRA, while Bell will be added.
In addition to remaining affiliated with the MLRA for an additional year, Bell said Clark County will work with Garland and Hot Spring counties to market economic development as a region.
“People are catching on quickly that as a stand alone county you probably can’t survive,” Shepherd said.