We have an opportunity to promote economic development in Jefferson County with three municipal chief executives who have demonstrated they know the definition of the word “cooperation.”
With the adoption of a county-wide sales tax pledged to economic development, Pine Bluff, White Hall and Redfield have the necessary resources to bring jobs into our communities.
White Hall and Redfield were the only incorporated municipalities in the county to post population gains between 2000 and 2010. We would like to see that trend continue.
We recommend Redfield Mayor Tony Lawhon, White Hall Mayor Noel Foster and Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth put their heads together with Lou Ann Nisbett, president and CEO of The Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, and develop a cooperative program to generate jobs.
We got the feeling in recent years that someone painted a target on a map of Jefferson County.
Charles River, a Massachusetts research firm, mothballed the company’s 87,600 square foot lab at Redfield in 2009, with 120 jobs lost.
We have the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research, but Congress has been discussing budget cuts that could eliminate hundreds of jobs at the facility near the Jefferson community.
Some 1,100 contract, civilian and government workers were scheduled to lose their jobs in the phased reduction in force at the Pine Bluff Arsenal with the elimination of the chemical weapons stockpile. A number of jobs were eliminated in 2010 and 2011.
Civilian contractors at the arsenal’s Chemical Agent Disposal Facility are busy with the demolition and decontamination of the facility, which is expected to be completed during the first half of 2013.
The Alliance is developing the Bioplex on 1,500 acres adjacent to NCTR. The focus is on research and consumer service jobs.
By working together, we can replace many of the jobs lost in recent years.