Several businesses are in talks with Walnut Ridge officials about possibly building in the town…this only a month after U-S Senator John Boozman announced that U-S Highway 67/167 now has a “Future I-57” designation. Mayor Charles Snapp says the city council and other officials are in discussions about placing the city’s infrastructure in areas where new businesses could be built by the interstate:
"We know that we need to get the city's water and sewer infrastructure to the area near the Highway 412/I-57 intersection where we believe businesses are interested in building," said Snapp. "We are in the process of talking about how to make that happen."
Snapp tells what is making his town attractive to some potentially future employers.
"It is the close proximity that residents of Paragould have to Walnut Ridge. It is also the interstate can easily bring people from Newport and as far away as Searcy to Walnut Ridge."
Snapp says the city council and other officials are looking at making infrastructure available in key areas of town. Snapp says this is happening at a time where Walnut Ridge has been experiencing near-record growth.
"We have low unemployment and this news has really brought more employers to look at us," said Snapp. "We are having growing pains because we could have more employers and more growth, but not enough housing or hotels to handle everyone. We hope that could happen very soon."
Snapp says Lawrence County officials are working together to see which resources are available to help in future growth, such as contracting services or land purchases for commercial use. “Future I-57” signs will be placed along the highway this summer.