June 3, 2009 Edition

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Tim Scott gives update on
NEA Intermodal Authority



Tim Scott (left), executive director of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, discusses the efforts to establish the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority with Dr. Brett Cooper, a member of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Board.
John Bland
Publisher

Tim Scott, executive director of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, gave an update Thursday on the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority and efforts to establish a "super site." He was guest speaker at a meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Walnut Ridge.

An intermodal authority allows two or more counties and municipalities to join efforts to establish and operate an industrial site that will unite several methods of transportation to enhance and attract industry.

Scott explained that the authority has $80,000 in a bank account, with $13,500 contributed by each entity of the authority, including Lawrence and Randolph counties, Pocahontas, Walnut Ridge, Hoxie and Corning. The authority consists of 18 individual members, with nine from Lawrence County, six from Randolph County and three from Corning.

The authority has been meeting monthly since January, and Congressman Marion Berry has had a staff member present at every meeting, Scott said. The authority met Thursday morning in Pocahontas for its May meeting.

A five-member committee is now in the process of selecting a consulting engineering firm to conduct an extensive study for the authority, said Scott. That committee consists of Nick Manatt of Corning, Wayne Gearhart and Scott Trammell, both of Pocahontas, Milton Smith of Walnut Ridge and John Tomlinson of Smithville. They are reviewing six formal applications from consulting engineering firms.

Scott said the authority believes that a site located at Walnut Ridge Regional Airport's Swindle Field is the best location for the industrial site. However, the consulting engineers will have the job of confirming or differing with that opinion.

"You all have the prime location. We hope the Little Rock folks think so, too," he said.

With the establishment of the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority, it should be one of only seven such sites in Arkansas. The nearest other site would be 100 miles from here, he said.

Scott added that the process is a long-term one that will require patience.

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