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Conway Awarded $1.5M Grant for Water, Sewer Infrastructure Improvements

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Conway has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, to construct water and sewer infrastructure improvements, the department announced in a press release Tuesday.

Alongside water and sewer infrastructure improvements, the grant will support manufacturing business growth at the Conway Industrial Park, improve fire flow to city residents and support additional redevelopment projects. 

The investment will be matched with $2.1 million in local funds, which Chief Operating Officer Brett McDaniel said comes out of the capital budget of Conway Corp. “We are the operators of the city owned utility, so it is effectively the city’s infrastructure,” he said.

McDaniel said that the additional redevelopment projects, as mentioned in the release, will improve the reliability of Conway’s water distribution system and directly benefit Westrock Coffee Co., which operates a ready-to-drink manufacturing facility and distribution facility in Conway. McDaniel said the water distribution system infrastructure funded by the grant provides the water volume required for Westrock’s production needs.

McDaniel said the new infrastructure supports future economic development in that area, as well. 

Conway is the second city in Arkansas to receive funding from the EDA this month. On June 11, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced in a press release a $1.2 million grant to the city of Wynne for roadway infrastructure improvements needed to support business expansion in the region. U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford said the funding was crucial to the ongoing recovery of Wynne, a city that suffered major damage in a March 2023 tornado.

“Economic growth is not possible without adequate infrastructure and visionary leadership,” Sen. John Boozman said in a statement. “Conway has consistently done an excellent job providing both to advance opportunities that benefit the community and region. I’m pleased this investment will expand that potential, spur business development and enhance water systems by partnering with the city and private industry.”

The EDA announced 13 total grants Tuesday, totaling to over $40 million. The largest was a $7.8 million grant to support educational and workforce development in Virginia and the smallest was a $500,000 grant to support entrepreneurship and research in Maryland.

“I am pleased that the Economic Development Administration is supporting economic development in Conway, Arkansas,” U.S. Rep. French Hill said. “As the fastest growing city in the state, EDA’s investment in Conway will support important water and sewer infrastructure projects, further bolstering economic growth and creating jobs in the Conway community.”

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