ABOUT AR-TX REDI

Known as a great place to work, live, and play, the Texarkana economy has a history of being strong and steady due to several major employers and a community known for working hard and giving back. A growing number of business leaders, elected officials, educational leaders, and private citizens are concerned, however, that the future of Texarkana may not be as strong as the past due to a lack of economic development. To position the region well for the future, a regional economic development effort is underway to ensure the future is better than the wonderful past.

Texarkana USA is the anchor of a 106-mile interstate corridor ripe with opportunity and bi-state synergy. Its crowning symbol of unity is the historic federal building that straddles the junction of the Texas-Arkansas state line. Developed around a complex rail system over a century ago, the region continues to develop as a national crossroads for transportation. Now home to three converging interstates and continued access to rail, air and natural resources, the AR-TX region is positioned for exponential economic growth within the logistic, manufacturing, and transportation sectors. Utilizing our state line as a unifying agent, we must resolve to pool our resources and look at our region holistically as a premier location site. The development of AR-TX REDI (Regional Economic DevelopmentIncorporated) will serve as the catalyst to connect prospective national and international business and industry contacts with our regional partners to build a stronger economy. With a regional holistic model for economic development, a win for either side of the state line is a win for all.

THE TEXARKANA MSA

The Texarkana, AR–Texarkana, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget, is a two-county region comprising the twin cities of Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas, and encompassing the surrounding communities in Bowie County, Texas and Miller County, Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the MSA had a population of 143,486. According to data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 260,000+ people residing within 50 miles of the Texarkana MSA. Within a 75-mile radius, that figure expands to 995,000+ people, and a 200-mile radius puts Texarkana within a three-hour drive of over 13 million people. Importantly, Texarkana is well situated to reach those markets as the intersection of I-30, I-49, and the future I-69 as well as U.S. highways, 59, 71, 67, and 82. It is also the intersection of the Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific railroads and has a regional airport that is served by American Airlines. Such proximity to so many transportation corridors makes it an ideal place for economic development, both now and far into the future. In addition to favorable transportation infrastructure, the Texarkana region offers ready access to water and water preservation services overseen by the Riverbend Water Resources District and Southwest Arkansas Water District. The Defense Industry Cluster anchored by Red River Army Depot is the largest economic driver in the greater Texarkana Region. The Texas Comptroller certified that the annual economic impact was more than $2.3B and provided approximately 15,000 direct and indirect jobs to the Texas economy. Located adjacent to Red River Army Depot’s main gate is the TexAmericas Center. One of the largest rural industrial centers in the USA, TexAmericas Center, brings together an unmatched land resource of nearly 12,000 acres and 3 million square feet of office, manufacturing, warehouse and storage space ready and available for development. TexAmericas Center also offers build-to-suit and land purchases, as well as Greenfield construction sites. The Defense Cluster and TexAmericas Center present outstanding opportunities within the region for economic growth. Taking into account the acreage available for new construction at TexAmericas and the regional transportation infrastructure, TexAmericas is a prime location for growth in the Defense Cluster and other private sector Logistics operations.

The Texarkana Chamber of Commerce operates the Falvey Industrial Park and the Maxwell Industrial Park. The Falvey Industrial Park is located on U.S. Highway 59 and has 25 acres in tracts ranging from two to ten acres. The Maxwell Industrial Park is adjacent to the Texarkana Regional Airport and connects with I-30 via Loop 245, and has an entrance ramp to I-49. Sixty-five acres are available in tracts ranging from five to 37 acres. The Nash (TX) Industrial Development Corporation has 148 acres of land available for development with close proximity to highways and rail. Home to Christus St. Michael Health System, Wadley Regional Medical Center, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences-Southwest, the Texarkana MSA is also home to the largest medical community between Little Rock and Dallas, making the area a prime target for health-related travel and business development.

BUILDING GENERATIONS OF SKILLED WORKERS AND INNOVATORS

At the heart of the region is a concentration on the development of lifelong learners. Investments in education are seen on both sides of the state line through the establishment of a comprehensive regional university, Texas A&M-Texarkana, that has access to the prestigious System’s statewide agencies. In addition, the area is home to two community colleges. Texarkana College (TC), offering both academic and career training courses, has seen record-breaking graduation and completion rates over the last decade. Recognized in the state and nation as a leader in student success initiatives, TC provides a continual pipeline of trained and ready workers in response to healthcare, business, and industry needs. University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana (UACCH-), helps train future business and industry leaders. The region is well prepared and poised to respond to training needs of tomorrow’s employers. Also, the University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS)- Southwest offers a Family Medicine Residency program in Texarkana, Arkansas.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Nearly two dozen separate economic development groups exist within a 30-minute drive of Texarkana—and there is strength in numbers. Economic development in any part of the Texarkana MSA is a win for the entire region, no matter which city, county or state border it lands in.

UNIFIED VISION- THE AR-TX REDI STRUCTURE

The new non-profit group, AR-TX REDI, has been established to bolster the existing economic development activities in this area. The corporation will start with a seven-member board appointed by investing parties. The organization’s by-laws will give funding partners the authority to increase the board to up to 11 members. AR-TX REDI will be located at the regional university for the area, Texas A&M University-Texarkana. The university will provide office space, meeting rooms, and assist with economic activities to lower the administrative cost of the new entity. The Texas A&M University System supports the economic development of the MSA and will bring the assistance of this system to develop this authority. The primary mission of AR-TX REDI will be to bring new business and industry to the Texarkana Area MSA. To accomplish this, AR-TX REDI will be established and have an executive director hired by December 31, 2018. The initial AR-TX REDI board will consist of the following members:

  • Sonja Yates Hubbard, President
  • Cary Patterson, Vice President
  • Emily Cutrer, Secretary
  • James Henry Russell, Treasurer
  • Dean Barry
  • Steve Ledwell
  • Representative appointed by City of Texarkana, TX City Council
  • Representative appointed by City of Texarkana, AR City Council
  • Representative appointed by Miller County Quorum Court
  • Representative appointed by Bowie County Commissioners Court
  • Representative appointed by Texarkana Chamber of Commerce

FUNDING MODEL

Funding Year 1- 5 for AR-TX REDI Operations: Secure funding commitments from private foundations and MSA stakeholders. Goal- $600,000 per year for five years (50% from private Foundations and 50% from business leaders in the MSA.)

Economic Development Restricted Fund: Secure funding from local public and private entities for a total commitment of $1,000,000 per year. Those entities may include Texarkana Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, Texarkana Regional Airport, Nash Industrial Development Corporation, Hooks Special Industrial Development Corporation, DeKalb Industrial Park, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, Maud Economic Development Corporation, Redwater, Industrial Development Corporation, Wake Village Economic Development Corporation, City of Texarkana, Arkansas, City of Texarkana, TX, Bowie County, and Miller County. Local economic development funds will remain in each funding entity’s restricted accounts until a request is made by AR-TX REDI and then acted on by governing board of each entity.

CONCLUSION

Northeast Texas is Southwest Arkansas’ best ally, and vice-versa. The state line is a unifier, not a divider, and this image must be cultivated for our region to prosper. With this new model for economic development, a “win” for either side of the state line is a win for all, and an established combined economic development effort offers us the opportunity to invest in the future of the entire Texarkana MSA. While this investment will require funding commitments from private as well as public stakeholders, the cost of not investing in the future of our region will result in depletion of momentum and missed economic opportunities as peer communities garner strength. A unified effort, uniquely designed to serve as the gateway to our future, capitalizes on our potential for regional growth and
prosperity.

REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ENTITIES:

  • TexAmericas Center
  • Texarkana Chamber of Commerce (and EDC)
  • Texarkana Regional Airport
  • Nash Industrial Development Corporation
  • Hooks Special Industrial Development Corporation
  • New Boston Chamber of Commerce
  • New Boston Special Industrial Development Corporation
  • DeKalb Industrial Park
  • De Kalb Chamber of Commerce
  • Maud Economic Development Corporation
  • Redwater Industrial Development Corporation
  • Wake Village Economic Development Corporation

REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE:

  • Red River Army Depot
  • Texarkana Regional Airport
  • Rail access: Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific; future development of high-speed rail and cargo rail
  • Intersection of major Interstates and highways
  • Water:
    • Riverbend Water Resources District
    • Southwest Arkansas Water District
    • Lake Wright Patman
    • Millwood Lake
  • Higher Education Partnerships:
    • Texarkana College (2-year Academic & Workforce Training Programs)
    • Texas A&M University- Texarkana (4-Year Regional University)
    • University of Arkansas-Texarkana Community College (2-year Academic & Workforce Training Programs)
    • UAMS- Southwest

QUICK FACTS:

  • Cities located in Miller County, Arkansas include: Texarkana (AR), Doddridge, Fouke, Garland City, and Genoa
  • Cities located in Bowie County, Texas include: Texarkana (TX), De Kalb, Hooks, Leary, Maud, Nash, New Boston, Red Lick, Redwater, and Wake Village
  • 143,486 people within the MSA
  • 260,000+ people within 50 miles of the MSA
  • In 2016, Texarkana, TX-AR (MSA) had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $35,824. This PCPI ranked 344th in the United States and was 91 percent of the state average, $39,517, and 73 percent of the national average, $49,246
  • 106 miles of regional interstate corridors including I-30, I-49 and future I-69 (currently called 369)
  • U.S. Highways 59, 71, 67 and 82