$2M awarded to SE development district
The Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District Inc. of Pine Bluff has been awarded a $2 million grant to establish a new headquarters facility, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced Monday.
The grant, which is coming from the department’s Economic Development Administration, will be matched with $399,000 in local investment, according to a news release.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in the news release that the “new economic development headquarters will provide the centralized, modern space necessary to advance the community’s economic development and disaster resiliency plans.”
The Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District Inc. was organized and began operation in 1967 under the provisions of the U.S. Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965.
Headquartered in Pine Bluff, the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District serves 10 counties in southeast Arkansas: Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Grant, Jefferson and Lincoln.
The news release said the money will support construction of a new headquarters to advance economic development and disaster recovery efforts, and will provide training to local leaders to arm them with new tools to improve the region’s economy.
“The opportunity to build a new headquarters will breathe new life into southeast Arkansas and energize the leadership of the economic development efforts as they seek to attract business and create jobs,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in the news release.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., said in the news release that the new facility will help the area “better prepare for emergency situations and natural disasters.”
The project comes about through the regional planning efforts led by the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District, which the Economic Development Administration funds to bring together public and private sectors to create a plan that strengthens the regional economy, supports private capital investment and creates jobs. The project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019.