The City of Fort Smith 2019 budget includes payment for Chaffee Crossing development incentives related to donated land for past industrial projects.
Fort Smith will pay about $131,000 in 2019 to the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority as part of incentives that brought companies to the city.
FCRA donated land to Graphic Packaging, Mars Petcare and Umarex USA when the three businesses wanted to relocate to Fort Smith. In return, the city and Sebastian County pay a certain amount of money or a portion of the estimated revenue from the general property taxes paid by the companies, according to the contracts provided to the Times Record.
Chaffee Crossing-based Arkansas Colleges of Health Education president Kyle Parker gave some insight into the future developments planned for the campus. They include asking locals to help medical students fall in love with the community so they will stay and practice in the region after graduation.
In a Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority board meeting on January 9, 2019, executive director Mat Pitsch told the board the I-49 project is not dead even though a letter from ARDOT director Scott Bennett reports that the HNTB study determined tolling would not support the cost of constructing 13.5 miles of interstate and a new bridge across the Arkansas River between Chaffee Crossing and Alma, Arkansas.
"Looking at bigger projects, Pitsch told the board that ARDOT Director Scott Bennett had a study done on the feasibility of a bridge and a roughly 13-mile section of I-49 north of Fort Chaffee that would connect Highway 22 in Sebastian County and the I-40/I-49 interchange in Crawford County to be a toll system. The timing for that section of the interstate would have to be started within the next five years," he said.
“No one wanted to commit to a 13-mile section, but by doing it the way he did, he could see who might be interested in a toll contract on the highway without having to commit to starting the entire project,” Pitsch said. “It was a very smart way to do it. We don’t know if any of the (interstate) will be toll, but by using funds for the study, it was a commitment that construction on that section would have to be started within five years.”
Arkansas Colleges of Health Education announced plans to develop a healing garden and wellness park on their campus.