Alliance publication draws praise at port authority board’s meeting

The first edition of “Business Images,” a magazine-style recruiting tool that The Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County is distributing to industries that might be interested in locating here, drew praise when it was introduced at a Tuesday meeting of the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Port Authority’s Board of Directors.

Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Lou Ann Nisbett said she was “very excited” with the content and quality of the publication, which is currently planned for annual production. The 56-page publication was produced by Journal Communications Inc. of Franklin, Tenn. at no cost to The Alliance. Expenses were satisfied through advertising sales.

“Some people didn’t realize what we have here until they saw this,” Nisbett said. She added that the publication is also available to industry representatives visiting The Alliance.

The first edition features an overview of local history, advantages to the county’s location, a low cost of living, existing manufacturing firms, the Pine Bluff Arsenal, the National Center for Toxicological Research, The Bioplex, agriculture, Southeast Arkansas College, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, transportation infrastructure, Jefferson Regional Medical Center and area cultural and recreational opportunities.

Port authority directors complimented the publication.

Nisbett credited Alliance executive assistant Rhonda Dishner with helping to ensure the publication’s quality. Dishner, a former newspaper editor, oversaw much of the local production.

In other business, Nisbett told the board that she’s considering producing new informational DVDs on the Jefferson County Manufacturing Council. The current DVD is several years old and only a few copies remain.

The board unanimously granted Nisbett permission to show a 178,000-square foot building at the Port of Pine Bluff to a potential buyer. The action was necessary to ensure a real estate agent of 3-percent commission payment should the facility be purchased.

Nisbett and the board discussed a Union Pacific Railroad proposal to initiate a $1,777.50 annual fee to the authority for tracks currently provided at the port. The UP document, which is being reviewed by the authority’s attorney, also includes proposed responsibilities for the tracks.