TEXARKANA, Texas - A Texarkana organization is moving forward on its promise to bring more jobs and economic growth to the region.
Nearly two years ago, thousands of people gathered in downtown Texarkana as the governors of both states introduced the newly formed AR-TX Regional Economic Development Corporation.
Today, that group has helped both sides of Texarkana to purchase land and get it shovel ready for new development.
ARTEX REDI is a non-profit group created with one main mission in mind, that's to bring new economic development and job growth to both sides of Texarkana.
In December, the city of Texarkana, Ark., closed on the purchase of nearly 1,400 acres at a cost of $4 million.
The REDI Arkansas Manufacturing Center includes interstate and U.S. highway frontage, along with Union Pacific rail.
While site certification has just begun, REDI Group CEO Rob Sitterley said he's already gotten some interest in the land.
"We've already started marketing the property. We've had some calls already with businesses and site selectors that are interested in a tract that size," said Sitterley.
The land is important, but the Texarkana community and its commitment to quality education is the main selling point, he added.
"You can't attract a business if they don't have a workforce there for them. If they don't have institutions of higher learning that are willing to train the workforce for the next generation," said Sitterley.
In a totally separate deal, in the spring of 2020 REDI partnered with the cities of Hooks and New Boston and Bowie County, Texas to purchase 847 acres of land near Red River Army Depot with frontage on I-30. The property cost $1.5 million.
Sitterley says the REDI East Texas Logistics Center is a prime location for a distribution center. The site certification process is almost complete.
He's already shown the property to more than dozen interested companies.
The two sites in Texas and Arkansas will not compete, but rather compliment each other.
"We're going to have a lot of opportunities where if we get a big heavy manufacture into our Arkansas site, they're going to need logistics distribution opportunities. And that will be provided by our Texas site and vice-versus," said Sitterley.
Population growth in the Texarkana region has been flat over the last ten years, but Sitterley hopes both of the properties will be the turning point for getting people back to work.
"Our goals in 2021 are simple. We want to fill up those sites as quickly as possible with job creating opportunities, high paying jobs that will bring people to our community," said Sitterley.
The REDI Group plans to search for even more land in the Texarkana region, including property suitable for smaller businesses.