Five Southeast Arkansas infrastructure projects are among seven projects in the Arkansas Delta that will receive more than $4 million in new investments. The new investment which is aimed at Delta small business owners, entrepreneurs, and communities is designed to grow the region’s economy and create jobs, the Delta Regional Authority and Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe announced today.

The Delta Regional Authority has received $1.4 million in federal grants that it plans to leverage into $4.2 million of public and private investments for seven projects in the Arkansas Delta.

Those projects include:

A street paving in Arkansas City, a water line expansion for the new Delta Center sports and entertainment complex in Desha County, rehabilitation of an existing railroad spur in Monticello, improvements and upgrades at the Port of Crossett, improvements to River Ridge Equipment’s facility and access roads in Cleveland County, relocation of existing overhead utilities to underground on University Drive in Pine Bluff, and construction of facilities for a workforce development center in Trumann.

“These cooperative projects will spur private sector job growth and provide improvements the region needs to be successful,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman, D-Ark. “These partnerships will help Arkansans improve their quality of life.”

The street paving project in Arkansas City will connect Arkansas City’s original business district with the city’s newest commercial establishment and city park. This infrastructure improvement will promote ecotourism within Arkansas City by providing access to many local amenities. Total project cost: $160,215. Federal funding: $125,215.

The water line expansion at the newly constructed Delta Center sports and entertainment complex in Desha County will provide ample and good quality water to the center. The project, which will cost $287,473 is projected to create and retain 110 jobs. Federal funding: $259,505.

The rail access project in Monticello calls for the rehabilitation of an existing railroad spur and extension of that spur from its current location into the Monticello Economic Development Commission Industrial Park, providing for the construction of a Public Rail Access Facility for existing and future industrial occupants. The project, which will cost  $906,000, will retain 195 jobs. Federal funding: $306,000.

“The addition of a public access rail facility in Southeast Arkansas will allow numerous options for business and industry to receive and ship their product by rail which is more economical than truck freight,” said Bennie Ryburn III, president of the Monticello Economic Development Commission.

The Crossett project calls for improvements and upgrades to the infrastructure of the dock at the Port of Crossett, expanding the capacity of the port to receive barges and attract more industries. The upgrades will repair damage from flooding and increase crew safety at the port. Total project cost: $330,353. Federal funding: $200,000.

The Cleveland County project calls for improvements to River Ridge Equipment’s facility and access roads to accommodate increased traffic of heavy equipment and trucks for shipping and receiving as well as streamline re-manufacturing process. The project, which will cost $120,000, will allow for the creation and retention of 27 jobs. Federal funding $120,000.

The Trumann project calls for the construction of facilities for the Trumann Innovative Workforce Development Center, which will offer basic adult education classes and industry workforce training. The center will also serve as a training center for local industries. Total project, which will cost $489,000, will allow for the training of 320 industry professionals and local residents. Federal funding: $206,000.

The University Drive project in Pine Bluff calls for the relocation of existing overhead utilities to underground, will improve safety, support local businesses, and contribute to an overall transportation goal of connecting visitors and tourists to cultural and recreational assets along the U.S. Highway 79B corridor. Total project cost: $1.9 million. Federal funding $250,000.

“Investing in our infrastructure is a common-sense way we can boost job creation, economic development, and entrepreneurship in our state,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. “Today’s announcement is great news for the Delta, and I look forward to working with the Delta Regional Authority as we continue to build opportunities in the region.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., the federal money will help ensure Delta communities have the resources, investments, and attention they need to strengthen the region’s economy and enhance the quality of life for residents of the Delta region

Delta Regional Authority Chairman Chris Masingill said working to grow the economy and create jobs is the Delta Regional Authority’s number one commitment to the people of the Delta.

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that is mandated by congress to identify and provide investment to help grow the small business and entrepreneurial community in the 252 counties and parishes of the Delta. The investments come through the DRA’s States Economic Development Assistance Program. With 45 local development districts as front-line project managers, these investments by the Delta Regional Authority support job creation and community development projects. In the past ten project cycles, the Authority created over 9,000 jobs and retained more than 7,500. They leveraged $1.5 billion in private investment with DRA projects and helped 25,000 families gain access to clean water and sewer service.