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Success Story: Southwest Region Economic Development Association Recognizes Outstanding ‘Star of the Southwest’ Projects at 2019 Annual Conference

The Southwest Region Economic Development Association (SWREDA) is a voluntary association of executive directors of Councils of Governments and Economic Development Districts working across EDA’s five-state Austin region. On December 4, SWREDA honored five impactful projects as part of the organization’s 2019 Annual Conference “Leveraging Local Assets, Building Regional Economies” in Santa Fe, NM.

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EDA Assistant Secretary John Fleming, Deputy Assistant Secretary Dennis Alvord and Austin Regional Director Jorge Ayala Presenting SWREDA Awards

These ‘Star of the Southwest’ awardees are recognized for having made a measurable and positive impact on their regions. The 2019 awardees are:

  • The Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District partnered with South Arkansas Community College (SouthArk) to build the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC) located on SouthArk’s East Campus. With an EDA investment of nearly $800,000, the project leveraged over $1.4 million in local, state, federal, and private investment for the AMTC, which provides training in welding, industrial technology, process technology, and mechatronics. The AMTC opened in June 2018 and has helped create and/or retain over 550 jobs.
  • The South Central Planning and Development Commission (LA) and Lafourche Parish Government leveraged a $740,000 EDA investment to secure nearly $500,000 in private investment for the Airport Road Turn Lane Project at the South Lafourche Leonard Miller, Jr. Airport in Galliano, LA. Part of a much larger $35 million airport corridor access project, the three-year Airport Road Turn Lane Project provides efficiency for vehicles entering and exiting the airport. Seven business directly benefited from the project, and an estimated 15,000 jobs were created/retained.
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    SWREDA Logo
  • With EDA investments of $2.725 million and private investments of $3.5 million, the Southeastern New Mexico Economic Development District/Council of Governments, the Carlsbad Department of Transportation, and the City of Carlsbad developed a former railroad maintenance yard into a commercial, cultural, educational, and entertainment location known as Cascades of Carlsbad. Located along the Pecos River, Cascades houses several businesses and has pedestrian walkways and footbridges, fountains, and landscaping. Future plans include residential and commercial buildings, a hotel, and a theater. Currently, four businesses in the Cascades have created or retained over 100 jobs as a result of the project.
  • In Oklahoma, the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) and Rogers County undertook a comprehensive project to construct a four-mile waterline and wastewater system for utility service to an industrial area in Inola. With a total project cost of $2.4 million, including $1.5 million from EDA, the project is part of a much larger effort to leverage an initial $360 million capital investment to improve infrastructure at a 2,000-acre industrial park. Future infrastructure improvements, including an existing industrial track and new rail construction, will help Sofidel America double the size of its facility, resulting in an additional 400 jobs to the region. The water/wastewater project has helped create or retain over 300 jobs to date.
  • The Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council (LLRGVDC) (TX) developed and implemented Explore RGV, a website and mobile application marketing multiple key assets across the region by partnering with cities of various sizes. Explore RGV develops tourism itineraries called Adventure Guides and records over 30 featured destination videos. Launched in 2018, Explore RGV relies heavily on social media for marketing over 700 businesses and attractions in the tri-county area. LLRGVDC leveraged an EDA investment of $350,000 to secure $150,000 in private investments for the project, which has helped create or retain between 15 and 20 jobs.
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