The town of Harrison, Ark. uncovers barriers to economic development grants


HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) – In July, Harrison City Council sought to approve its first economic development grant to a business within city limits. Instead, the council returned to awarding its first grant after discovering additional state regulations involving municipal funds and private companies.

The biggest change with the additional regulations; for a business to receive a grant, it must fall into eight broad categories, which are as follows:

The Arkansas Constitution very specifically defines “economic development projects” and “economic development services”.

Economic Development Projects” means land, buildings, furniture, equipment, facilities, “infrastructure” and improvements necessary or suitable for the development, maintenance or expansion of: (a) manufacturing, production and industrial; (b) Research, technology and development facilities; (c) Recycling facilities; d) Distribution centers; (e) Call centers; (N) Warehouses; (g) Vocational training facilities; (h) Regional or national headquarters; and (;) Sports complexes designed to host local, state, regional, and national competitions, including, but not limited to, baseball, softball, and other athletic tournaments.

“When you look at the eight different categories listed by state law, the primary one is manufacturing. And that’s what we’re hoping to do now with this is to encourage our local manufacturers to expand, Mayor Jerry Jackson said Monday. “It’s probably our main economy, it’s industry. We are a manufacturing city.

Jamie Akers, owner of several restaurants in Harrison, was seeking approval for new ventures, including expanding a restaurant into a new facility along US 65 on the north side of Harrison.

“The city didn’t have its business together and wasn’t organized,” Akers said. “At the end of the day, the city is still held to state standards for economic development. We fell under some requirements in terms of employment, but not manufacturing, the new businesses we are currently working on may later allow us to become eligible.

Mayor Jackson told KY3 that he felt very bad about the hurdles encountered at the start of the candidacy period.

“I think he felt bad about it. I know I felt bad because it was just unfortunate for him,” Jackson said. advance, he probably never would have applied, and we’re working to make sure companies are aware of all of this.”

As of Monday, no grants were approved for businesses, but several are pending approval.

“If we get the approval, the first thing is definitely to buy the equipment to improve the wholesale products since we have the Walmart account,” Floy Goodwin said with The Dude by Hrafn. “Also to expand nationwide and create more economic jobs.”

The Dude is a clothing retailer currently in a transition period to focus on wholesale products, primarily men’s grooming products. Goodwin says the transition will take place over the next two to three months and will result in increased employment.

“Harrison has always had tremendous growth potential, so with this, it’s really going to allow small businesses to have a real impact on their environment,” she said.

This is the first time the Town of Harrison has approved an economic development fund. For more details on how to apply, you may contact the Mayor’s Office at (870) 741-2777 or email: [email protected]

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