City of Jonesboro Awarded $2.5M in Rail Expansion Grants
JONESBORO, Ark. — The City of Jonesboro announced a $2.5 million grant to fund rail storage expansion Monday afternoon at Rotary Park. The grant includes $2 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and another $500,000 investment by the Delta Regional Authority.
This grant will be used to create space for the Jonesboro Industrial Park to store 120 additional rail cars.
The official announcement was made by U.S. E.D.A. representative Anthony Foti.
“I’m pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Commerce is awarding $2 million in grants to the City of Jonesboro to make rail infrastructure improvements needed to support the expansion of the Jonesboro Industrial Park,” Foti said.
Foti said the project is expected to create 125 jobs while retaining over 400 existing jobs.
Executive Director for the East Arkansas Planning and Development District, Melissa Rivers, said this expansion project is just one step for the region, and will ultimately be just one part of a bigger picture.
“This is the type of investment that sets up both short term and long term gains for our community,” Rivers said. “It provides more jobs and stability for our citizens at a time when both are in short supply.”
Clint O’Neal, executive vice president of global business for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, expanded on that idea, adding he would be back in Jonesboro soon to announce more new jobs.
“There’s going to be a time in the near future where we’re at the industrial park having another announcement. We’re going to be announcing jobs and additional expansions here in Jonesboro,” O’Neal said. “It’s because the community takes the time to lay the groundwork.”
Mark Young, president and CEO of the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce, then laid out exactly what this grant does for the city of Jonesboro.
“This gives assurance to our existing industries that they have the capacity to expand. Second, this gives us the assurance that we can continue to recruit businesses that need rail services,” Young said.
The event was capped off with an improvised speech from U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford, who represents Arkansas’ First District.
“Northeast Arkansas has continued to defy the odds with regard to economic development. It doesn’t just benefit Jonesboro or Northeast Arkansas. It benefits the entire state of Arkansas. It benefits the greater region,” Crawford said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this team that works so diligently to achieve these goals.”