Governors from both sides of the state line will converge in downtown Texarkana on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at 3 p.m. to announce the creation of the AR-TX Regional Economic Development Incorporation (AR-TX REDI)—an organization formed to serve as a catalyst for regional growth and a strengthened economy for southwest Arkansas and Northeast Texas. The public is invited to attend the announcement ceremony held on the steps of the United States Post Office and Courthouse.
The historical joint appearance by Governor Greg Abbott (TX) and Governor Asa Hutchinson (AR) will headline the launch of AR-TX REDI, a new nonprofit organization that aims to create jobs and expand the regional economic base by attracting new businesses and industries. AR-TX REDI was created to promote the value of the area’s unique resources along the regional interstate corridors in Bowie (TX) and Miller (AR) Counties. Currently, the area has 106 miles of interstate frontage along the corridors of I-30, I-49, and future I-69 (currently called I-369).
“Texarkana USA is the anchor of converging interstate corridors rich with opportunity and resources,” said Sonja Hubbard, AR-TX REDI President. “Our region is poised for exponential economic growth within the logistic, manufacturing, transportation and medical sectors, but we need a unified vision to successfully connect our resources with potential employers. The AR-TX REDI model will benefit the entire region and work across state lines to attract new commerce. A win for any area within our region is a win for us all.”
To achieve these goals, the AR-TX REDI board will hire an executive director to market the region and make connections with potential employers. The non-profit organization and its director will be fully funded by private donors and foundations. In coming years, governmental entities will be asked to consider dedicating funds and identifying tax incentives for the purpose of securing proposals made by interested business prospects and developers.
Currently, within the 106-mile AR-TX interstate corridors, nearly two dozen separate independent economic development groups exist. To bolster existing economic development activities in the area, AR-TX REDI will recruit new commerce through a regional holistic approach utilizing the state line as a unifier, not a divider, and positioning the AR-TX area as a key site for national and international business investment.
By collaborating with site locators, facility managers, developers, and real estate agents, the AR-TX REDI staff and board will serve as the central information source for response to proposals from prospective business and industry investors. Existing economic development entities will continue to make decisions regarding their commitment of resources and tax incentives but will benefit from AR-TX REDI’s unified response leveraging area resources to meet prospective business and industry investors’ needs and location requirements.
AR-TX REDI board member Dean Barry said numerous communities have created this type of economic development initiative by collaborating with existing groups to provide critical and timely information to site locators.
“Successful communities have an economic development engine working continuously to bring in new and sustainable commerce,” said Barry. “We’ve seen this model work before right here in the Texarkana region. As far back as the 1940s through the ‘80s, a group of regional stakeholders came together to recruit new business and industry to our area. We have these visionaries to thank for helping seal the deal with Red River Army Depot, Cooper Tire, and the paper mills, for example. It’s time to rally up in support of the future of our economy in Northeast Texas and southwest Arkansas if we want to be ready for our future.”