Arkansas Waterways Commission Port, Intermodal, and Waterway Development Grant Program Awards
Little Rock Port Authority Grant Reward
Mrs. Deidre Smith, Executive Director of the Arkansas Waterways Commission, presents the Port of Little Rock with a grant award in the amount of $260,000. This money will be used to enhance the Port’s infrastructure to better serve the global markets.
The White River Regional Port Authority Grant Award
The White River Regional Port Authority was recently awarded a grant for Phase II of the development of a port facility on the White River in Newport, Arkansas. The Arkansas Waterways Commission selected the White River project for a grant of $141,720.00 to be used to continue the development of access into the port site. In 2017, Phase I was funded. The first phase developed signage for the port and started the access road construction.
Phase II construction on the access road will begin in the spring and finished before the end of July 2019. This project includes working to construct the road over the levy to allow access while also maintaining flood control. The Port Authority is currently working with a company to re-establish shipping on the river by the fall of 2019.
Funding for the grant from the Arkansas Waterways Commission comes from fees generated by waterborne transportation companies active on Arkansas rivers. These fees generated by the users of the river are then allocated to assist with development of Arkansas’ navigable waterways. The White River is a navigable waterway to Newport.
The continued support of the Arkansas Waterways Commission for the work on the White River is a huge benefit to towns up and down the river. The Arkansas Waterways Commission working with the White River Regional Port Authority and the Newport Economic Development Commission are dedicated to reviving shipping on the White River.
Fort Smith Grant Award
For the first time since 1980, the Port of Fort Smith has a new building to accommodate more commerce on the Arkansas River.
A unit with 30,000 square feet of bulk storage was built over several months at the port with a $110,000 matching grant from the Arkansas Waterways Commission’s Arkansas Port, Intermodal and Waterway Development Grant Program.
“It helps us grow tonnage and secure tonnage,”said port operator Marty Shell of Five Rivers Distribution. “The last time we had a new building here was 1980. It’s brought new life to the port.”
Shell pointed out the facility was completed with no Fort Smith tax money. It was paid for with 90 percent Waterways Commission funding and 10 percent matching money from Five Rivers. In all, the facility is valued at $900,000.
Last year, the Fort Smith Port Authority received more than $500,000 from the grant program to build the facility operated by Five Rivers Distribution. Shell said the new dry storage facility is being used now for bulk storage of an animal feed product.