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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Support Manufacturing Expansion near Opportunity Zone in Sharp County, Arkansas

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Sharp County, Arkansas, to renovate and rebuild a manufacturing facility and boost county economic diversification and resiliency efforts. The EDA grant, to be located near a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $750,000 in local funds, is expected to help create 245 jobs and spur more than $27 million in private investment.

“President Trump is working diligently every day to support our nation’s economy following the impacts of COVID-19 through the CARES Act,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This investment will provide the infrastructure development that Sharp County needs to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic and, in turn, create a stronger and more resilient local economy near an Opportunity Zone.”

“EDA’s investment comes at a crucial time for Sharp County’s economy to thrive and to provide hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will renovate a 277,000 square-foot manufacturing building to attract new manufacturing industries and private investments to the region as it recovers from the adverse effects of the pandemic.”

“President Trump and Congress understood our economy would take a devastating hit from COVID-19 and passed the CARES Act, in part, for this very reason,” said Senator John Boozman. “I am pleased to see funds dedicated for this project, which is a vital part of Sharp County’s path to economic recovery. I applaud the EDA for partnering with local interests to encourage economic growth and improvements to the quality of life for Arkansans in the region.”

“COVID-19 has affected many hard-working Americans economically and has challenged local economies across Arkansas,” said Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01). “This investment by the U.S. Department of Commerce not only opens opportunities in the fast-growing manufacturing sector for local Arkansans, but also expands the state’s economy to attract further economic development. I applaud this Administration for continuing to put Americans first and for always protecting our economy.” This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by White River Planning and Development District (WRPDD), which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Per Secretary Ross’s announcement, EDA began accepting applications for CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding opportunities on May 7.

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. For complete information, please visit our recently updated EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page.

The funding announced today will catalyze private investment near one of Arkansas’ 85 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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