MULBERRY, Ark. — As part of the federal government's 2023 Fiscal Year omnibus package, the City of Mulberry was awarded $4 million to help improve the infrastructure around the industrial park area.
Republican Congressman Steve Womack, representing the 3rd District of Arkansas, has been working on gaining the funding since it was brought to him a year ago by Mulberry Mayor, Gary Baxter.
"With the increased activity in our Industrial Park and the growth there, we knew that the road was not going to hold up," said Baxter.
The road in question is Industrial Park Drive.
Years of use have left the asphalt pavement littered with pot-holes and cracks creating problems for the dozens of semi trucks using the road to deliver products to and from the businesses in the area.
"It totally impacts the wear and tear on our vehicles, tires, and shocks. The suspension really takes the beating and the toll for it," said Doug Bowen, co-owner of Doug's Produce and Compass Cold Storage.
Congressman Womack told 5NEWS in a statement that the "funding is a major investment in a small community with strategic importance to the economic vitality of the Arkansas River Valley. It will create jobs and opportunities for valley residents and spur the kind of growth and development that benefits the 3rd District of Arkansas.:
The hope is that construction will help breed more construction. The area is seeing that pay off with the construction of Compass Cold Storage and now the plans to repave Industrial Park Drive as a concrete roadway.
Improving to a concrete road will help ensure the longevity of the road and will support the weight and frequency of semis - which is expected to nearly triple once Compass Cold Storage is open.
"It will be very attractive for new businesses to come in," said Darren Winstead, co-owner of Doug's Produce and Compass Cold Storage. "There are several hundred acres still available for businesses to come in, and that's going to be huge for the City of Mulberry."
Many jobs are located in Mulberry's Industrial Park. Once Compass Cold Storage is open, jobs will continue to increase. The new roadway is projected to help continue to foster growth in the area.
Located near both I-40 and I-49 the Industrial Park is in a prime location to serve all directions on the compass, and a new road is a step in the right direction to having more businesses move to the area.
"We want to have good roads all throughout the state of Arkansas because we want people to move into Arkansas and bring your industry, their business here," said Baxter. He says the best way to do that is "to have good roads."
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