It's A Great Day in Texarkana (Welcome from Jeff K. Sandford)

by Jeff K. Sandford  on Monday, Mar. 24, 2014 12:00 am  

Jeff K. Sandford

It’s a great day in Texarkana! These are words that echo through the halls of businesses and schools alike, and showcase the fact that this is a community dedicated to economic prosperity. Of course - as with life - some days are better than others. What has always separated Texarkana from other communities, however, is the effort given to improving the economic position of the region.

An exciting trend for the area is the diversification of business clusters within the Twin Cities. Over the years, Texarkana was known as a rail town, then a timber community. The presence of the Red River Army Depot and the Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant created the image of a military town. It has been well-documented that manufacturing has been a cornerstone of Texarkana over the years, signaling a feel that this region was all blue-collar in its approach to recruitment of business.

While many of the jobs in these sectors still permeate the landscape of the overall job market, new jobs are being created in industries that are realizing growth and prosperity in and around Texarkana!

Tourism and Hospitality

One of the most visible business clusters is the hospitality industry. Twelve new hotels – including two new convention centers – have opened over the past five years. That’s more than 1,000 new rooms available for visitors who are beginning to see Texarkana USA as more than a “pass-through” city, and are choosing the area as a destination. Hundreds of groups have already booked memorable gatherings through our convention centers, and many more are choosing to hold family events, sporting and rodeo events and more at one of our outstanding local venues.

In addition to personal travel, the business traveler still makes up a large portion of our weekday visitor count. Whether in town for work at Red River Army Depot, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. or some other business function, the business traveler has been a staple of our temporary citizenry. Many have found that Texarkana is a place they wish to call home on a more permanent basis. Each year, many relocate to Texarkana to experience the beauty of living at the junction of two great states, Texas and Arkansas.

Transportation Arteries

With all of the business travel, one might wonder how the traveler gets to the Twin Cities. Fortunately, this region has an expansive transportation network, which includes Interstate 30, as well as the corridors for I-69 and I-49. An improved state highway system adds to the network which helps businesses move goods in and out of the region with ease, with access to virtually every part of the country. An expanded airport and abundant rail add to the mix, and an effort to make the Red River navigable sets the northeast Texas/southwest Arkansas region in a class by itself for infrastructure. Once in town, businesses and citizens coexist seamlessly with a dynamic transportation network which allows for quick and easy access to major shopping, housing and business areas.

Regional Education Center

Texarkana is fortunate to have three institutions of higher learning which partner with the Chamber to train our workforce. Texarkana College continues to have a positive impact on those starting out or, perhaps, starting over. Texas A&M University-Texarkana has recently expanded its reach with a new campus sitting beautifully on Bringle Lake. And the newest entry into local higher education comes in the form of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana. This new campus, located on the Arkansas side, recently completed its first full year of providing quality education to area students.

Connecting the Dots…

Established in 1905, the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce has been the leading advocate for business through our economic development, tourism development and community development initiatives for more than a century.

Jeff K. Sandford, IOM
President & CEO

 

 

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