March 4, 2015 Edition

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NEARIFA discusses
plans for grant money

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

During its meeting Thursday, the Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority discussed plans for the remainder of a $20,000 grant awarded by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

The grant money is to be used in planning and preparation for the new Peco Foods plant located between Walnut Ridge and Pocahontas.

The authority used some of the grant to fund a trip to two communities in Mississippi where Peco Foods have poultry operations. The remaining funds, which is $14,564, is held by The Delta Center for coordination and planning with the NEARIFA.

Intermodal Director Wayne Gearhart said some of the money will be used on a proposed trip to Batesville to visit the Peco facility there and meet with local officials. He also said the money could be used in support of a job fair Peco is sponsoring, which will be held sometime in March.

Frankie Gilliam, community/economic specialist with The Delta Center, said the AEDC would like documentation on how the remaining funds will be designated by June. Gearhart said he welcomes all suggestions on how to use the grant funds.

In other business, Gearhart spoke with the Intermodal about L.A. Darling Company announcing the closure of its Piggott facility. He said there will be a vacant 300,000 square-foot building left there for a new business to take over and 70 employees left jobless. "We want to help them if at all possible."

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