May 26, 2010 Edition

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Intermodal Authority
receives GIF grant

Lawrence County Judge Alex Latham (from left), Corning Mayor Dewayne Phelan and Wayne Gearhart, chairman of the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority, visit at a special meeting on Monday at Black River Technical College in Pocahontas.
TD Photo ~ Gloria Wilkerson
Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority Board met on Monday at Black River Technical College with exciting news for its members. The Authority has received a $180,000 General Improvement Grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for possible topographic and boundary surveys for three industrial parks.

The funds were applied for through the city of Pocahontas and came from the House and Senate members of the 87th Arkansas General Assembly for Regional Economic Development.

The Authority's engineering firm, Crafton Tull Sparks of Little Rock, with input from the 21-member NEIA Board selected the areas to be included in the topographic surveys.

Senator Paul Miller and State Rep. David Cook addressed the board and other guests on the significance of this grant and its importance for jobs in Northeast Arkansas. Board chair Wayne Gearhart told those assembled that the fund will take the Authority to the next level.

"It is a time to celebrate, but not a time to sit back and relax," he said.

Senator Miller said, "This is just the beginning of something that is going to be good for the entire area. The project is in its embryo stage, and I encourage the board to take the ball and run with it."

"This is an example of what towns, counties and states can accomplish when they work together to get things done."

The letter from Maria Haley, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, notifying Pocahontas Mayor Gary Crocker that the Authority would receive this funding reads in part, "We focused this grant solicitation on projects that affect more than one county, in keeping with Gov. Mike Beebe's Strategic Plan for Economic Development. We appreciate your efforts in working with your neighbors and hope this grant award will stimulate continued cooperation in the area of economic development."

The Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority was formed in 2008 to explore new avenues of economic development for the area. Members include: Clay, Randolph and Lawrence counties, Corning, Walnut Ridge, Hoxie and Pocahontas.

Their objective is to bring industries and businesses to Northeast Arkansas that will result in more jobs for the area in the future.

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