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Delta Rising

I may be from the hills of Northwest Arkansas, but I love the Delta. This past week, I was privileged to travel to Helena-West Helena for a big dedication: the opening of the Enviro Tech Chemical Services plant.

It’s the first major industrial project to locate in the Helena Harbor.

It was an exciting day.

Being in Helena-West Helena always makes me feel a little more Southern. Maybe it’s the food. Or the history and music. Or because the town hugs the Mississippi River like an old friend.

Without a doubt, the Delta — called the Most Southern Place on Earth — is one of the most creative places on earth.

The contributions of the people there are undeniable.

But it’s also undeniable that over the last half-century, the region has struggled. It has seen high unemployment and too few announcements like the one I just attended.

Some consider the Delta as the best farmland in the world, but little more.

I refuse to believe that.

On the contrary, I believe that the executives of Enviro Tech know what they’re doing. They know that they’re getting in on the ground floor of something good.

Listen to what Enviro Tech CEO Mike Harvey said about why his California-based company chose southeast Arkansas:

“The business climate in Arkansas, primarily in Helena-West Helena and Phillips County, has proven to be the easiest, most welcoming and accommodating of any we have experienced.”

By the end of this year, Enviro Tech will employ 80 people in high-wage jobs. Its commitment to Helena-West Helena signals to other businesses that we in Arkansas want to help you succeed here, not stand in your way.

In time, I want to see the expansion of Enviro Techs become the norm in Helena-West Helena. I want to see the area on everybody’s radar. What’s the worst thing that could happen? They might have to add another day to the Blues Festival to accommodate the crowds?

Sounds pretty good to me.

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