The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded $2.2 million to entities in Arkansas to support redevelopment of the former Dogpatch USA site and to expand construction training.
The Marble Falls Sewer Improvement District will receive $1 million to build wastewater infrastructure improvements, which will support plans to turn the abandoned amusement park into a nature center. The grant from the Economic Development Administration will be matched with $1.9 million in state funds.
Dogpatch USA opened in 1968 and closed in 1993. The 400-acre property was purchased in 2020 by Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris for $1.1 million.
Morris is looking to transform the site into a similar but smaller version of his 10,000-acre Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in Missouri, just north of the Arkansas state line above Carroll County.
According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create 166 jobs and generate $40 million in private investment.
The second grant of $1.2 million was awarded to the Arkansas Construction Education Foundation in Little Rock. Funds will be used to build state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratory space to expand the foundation’s highway construction training and apprenticeship programs.
The project will be matched with $1.2 million in local funds and is expected to create 250 jobs, according to grantee estimates.
“I am pleased that the Economic Development Administration is continuing to support business development and workforce training in Arkansas. Their investment in the Arkansas Construction Education Foundation in Little Rock will help grow our local economy and create more job opportunities for Arkansans,” U.S. Rep. French Hill said in a news release.