LITTLE ROCK, AR (News Release)---The Little Rock Port Authority (LRPA) hosted a grand opening ceremony for its new headquarters, the Arkansas River Resource Center. The $2.1 million complex will become Little Rock’s newest economic development marketing asset. Designed to showcase the beauty of one of the state’s most valuable access points, the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, the building will serve as the welcome center for industries that need waterway and rail transportation and are interested in locating in the port’s industrial park.
Jon Wickliffe, chairman of the LRPA Board of Directors, explained the value and efficiencies the new building will add to LRPA’s business goals.
“The Little Rock Port Authority strives to provide a diverse business environment that meets the needs of the industrial community,” said Wickliffe. “Our port currently houses more than 30 industrial manufacturers. We also host numerous trucking companies, parts and components providers, gas stations and a medical clinic. The Resource Center will be a vital tool to help us attract a myriad of other businesses and industries.”
Construction of the center was partially funded by a $960,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). Pedro Garza, regional director, was in attendance to explain the economic growth potential the facility will offer.
“As a federal agency, our investment policy is driven by two key economic drivers – innovation and regional collaboration,” said Garza. “The Little Rock Port provides a competitive business recruitment advantage to prospective tenants due to its access to waterway, rail and highway transportation, as well as warehouse space and a foreign trade zone.”
Garza also explained the importance of the Center’s innovative design concept.
“Our current economic climate requires new and creative ideas linked to long-term, sustainable economic development strategies,” added Garza. “The environmental design concept as well as reduced water and energy consumption strategies proposed for the Arkansas River Resource Center are important to the EDA. In its function as a welcome center, the facility will now match Little Rock’s commitment to innovative sustainable business environments.”
The LRPA has been located at 7500 Lindsey Road, along Fire Station #4 since 1979.
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola was present during the ceremony to pledge continued support to the LRPA staff.
“This new building represents the entreprenurial and business-friendly enviornment that defines our capital city,” said Stodola. “I know this investment will help us attract businesses and corporations interested in doing business with the city.”
Bryan Day, LRPA executive director, explained the wide variety of services provided by the agency.
“The LRPA has been a major economic driver for the City of Little Rock and the State of Arkansas,” said Day. “We create high-paying jobs in central Arkansas by recruiting industries that need intermodal transportation and other amenities only available at the port.”
Day outlined the role the Arkansas River Resource Center will have in enabling LRPA staff and board to meet the agency’s mission.
“Our responsibility is to manage the assets of the port and to create high-paying employment for the City of Little Rock and central Arkansas. We can accomplish this by using the resources of the port industrial park, river terminal, port railroad, foreign trade zone and slackwater harbor,” said Day. “The Resource Center will help us be better equipped to recruit new companies to our region. Our staff will now be able to meet with prospective companies and showcase the port’s amenities without leaving the area.”
Currently, the Little Rock Port offers a 2,600-acre industrial park, short-line railroad with more than 17 miles of track, a Foreign Trade Zone, a 190-foot dock and a 4,500-foot industrial harbor.
The Arkansas River Resource Center is located on the banks of the Arkansas River at 10600 Industrial Harbor Drive.