Monthly MEDC meeting touts MonticelloLive, Monticello SpeedwayOctober 6th, 2006 by Jeff
As the monthly meeting of the Monticello Economic Development Commission began Wednesday, (it meets the first Wednesday of each month in the UAM University Center Capitol Room) president Benny Ryburn informed those present about MonticelloLive and its contribution to community news and communication. In addition, Ryburn spotlighted Monticello Speedway as a business that is bringing Monticello quite a bit of attention.
“Each weekend, there are between 800-1200 spectators,” Ryburn said. With more than 100 race cars and their crew, the new race track consistently draws folks from other communities and out of state. Races take place every Saturday night from mid-March to mid-November. One night recently featured winners from five different states.
In items of business, it was reported the Monticello’s airport, Ellis Field, was recently classified as a Level 4 airport. This has significant implications for the community and region. Improvements at the field will help attract industries who require air transportation and support. According to the Arkansas State Airport System Plan, a Level 4 airport should strive to provide the following:
- A primary runway at least 5500 feet long by 100 feet wide
- Runway should be supported by a full parallel taxiway
- On-site weather reporting capabilities
- An LPV approach supported by medium intensity runway lighting and an approach lighting system
- Pavement strength of 30,000 pounds dual wheel
- Hangars for 80% of all based aircraft; apron area for all remaining based aircraft and 25% of daily transient aircraft
- 5000 square feet of public-use space with phones, restrooms, pilot and conference space
- Jet A and 100LL fuel; self service facilities
- Full service FBO and aircraft maintenance facilities
- Access to rental cars
- An Emergency Response Plan
According to the report, the first round economic impact to Monticello is approximately $824,000. The second round impact is $1,700,400. Total airport impact is estimated to be: 17 jobs, a total payroll of $443,100 and a total economic activity of $2,525,200.
In the director’s report, Director Derrill Pierce related that money has been raised for the needed feasibility study of renovating the old Ridgeway Hotel located on East Gaines. The hotel has been completely cleaned up inside, and the study will help determine “if the Ridgeway can be redeveloped to its highest and best future use from both a construction and economic perspective.” Pierce’s report stated, “The Ridgeway Hotel project is a portion of MEDC’s commitment to revitalization of the inner city, particularly the east side of the community. That revitalization is entirely consistent with the vision of Monticello being created by the Community Design Center in terms of higher density residential development and more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.”
In addition, the upcoming one-cent sales tax vote in 2007 was discussed as being key to continuing the development of Monticello’s infrastructure, sports complex, and industrial sites.
Pierce also reported that a strong industrial candidate that had been considering locating in Monticello has decided to locate in Rison instead. Treated Materials Company, which produces telephone and power poles, was offered a package of incentives as well as 30 acres of land for their site by Rison. While the MEDC had offered to match Rison’s offer of 30 acres of land within the industrial park, the “company declined the offer because C&L Electric Co-op is a valued client regularly purchasing electric power poles from the company.”
Treated Materials had expressed a desire to locate on 50 acres north of the Intermodal site on Highway 278. However, the MEDC did not have the financial capability to buy the site from Plum Creek since the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department had paid an appraised price of around $3000 per acre for the I-530 Right-of-Way. The Intermodal Authority paid the same for its 400 acres on the south side of 278. While MEDC offered other types of assistance, it was not able to persuade Treated Materials to locate within Drew County.
MEDC continues to pursue an interested company in the Pacific Northwest as a viable prospect for purchase of and location of their business in the SPEC Building in the industrial park. The wood products company would create approximately 30 new jobs should they decide to locate in Monticello.