CROSSETT, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — The Crossett Solar Energy Farm is steps closer to its construction date.
The project has so far been about a two year process but the Ashley County Quorum Court and Crossett City Council both made pivotal moves this week that clears the way for the project to begin.
“We’re excited to be this close to finishing this project with all of the benefits that it is going to provide to Ashley County and the City of Crossett,” President of the Crossett Economic Development Foundation, Howard Beaty Jr. said.
According to the Ashley County News Observer, the Ashley County Quorum Court approved a petition for annexation on Monday. The following day, the Crossett City Council adopted an ordinance that will officially annex the location of the future site which will consist of 870 acres of land.
“The council approved the bonds for up to $140 million and they also approved the annexation of the property that the solar farm will sit on,” Executive Director of the Crossett Economic Development Foundation, Mike Smith said. “This will not impact the residents in that area ut strictly the footprint of the social farm.
This project will be located south of Crossett on Highway 133 and will sit behind the old Tech Pro Sales, Inc. building.
“Approximately 700 workers here in town will construct the plant that will spend their money on goods and services at our local merchants,” Beaty said.”It’s also going to mean approximately 280 thousand dollars in tax revenue with a portion of that going to the Crossett School District.”
Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) of Little Rock entered into this power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES), who will construct the project.
Since the devastating news of the Georgia Pacific layoffs last year that left more than 500 workers without jobs, Crossett has seen a new hotel, a number of small businesses open and a new manufacturing company.
“Throughout the pandemic, we were working hard to recruit Cynergy Cargo in Crossett,” Smith said.
“We didn’t lie down. We didn’t stop. We didn’t say we couldn’t do this because of the pandemic. We worked safely, diligently, smartly through that so we could have that announcement right in the middle of this pandemic.”
Beaty commended the work of Mayor Crystal Marshall and the Crossett City Council, Judge Jim Hudson and the Ashley County Quorum Court and the Crossett and Hamburg Economic Development Foundations for the integral part each played in making sure this project was a priority.
“It lets folks know there are still opportunities for Crossett and we still have champions fighting for this community,” Beaty said.
“There are great things happening in Ashley County. The sky is blue just like it is today and we have a very optimistic future and that’s what folks need to focus on is the future and we’ll have success if we all work together.
The solar farm hasn’t been built yet but leaders say its already sparking attention.
“We’ve received some positive feedback from industries and businesses that we’ve spoken to in the past. They’ve seen the announcement and they are inquiring about Ashley County and about Crossett and what potential benefits it will provide for their company to consider and reconsider Crossett as new their location.”
For those at home wondering what’s in it for you.
“It will benefit Ashley Chicot-Electric Members by providing them with the most cost effective power resources we can possibly provide to them,” Director of Communications at Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Rob Roedel said.
There have already been some trees cleared in that area and construction is expected to begin early next summer.