The Arkadelphia City Board of Directors entertained a report touting the success, accomplishments and efforts of the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce during their Tuesday meeting.

The Arkadelphia City Board of Directors entertained a report touting the success, accomplishments and efforts of the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce during their Tuesday meeting.
According to Shelley Loe, executive vice-president of the local Chamber of Commerce, strides have been made in the areas of education and economic development and tourism.
“Since the announcement of Sun Paper in April the Chamber has received substantially more retail and medical office leads,” said Loe.
According to Loe, the Chamber has provided location options to prospects and worked with area realtors to accommodate the requests.
“This is an exciting time for Arkadelphia as we prepare for temporary workforce and new permanent residents,” Loe said.
In addition, the Chamber has met with contractors with Big River Steel to address housing needs.
The Chamber has welcomed new businesses such as Shoe Sensation, Ivan Smith, Space Walk, Legacy Termite  and Pest Services, Edward Jones-David Sims, Citizens Bank and Fit Nutrition.
In addition, Loe reported the steel has been ordered for the new Dunkin’ Donuts, Little Caesars and Baskin Robbins building, which will be located on Pine Street. 
Loe said the Chamber continues to offer interview and meeting space to businesses.
In regards to education, Loe said employers have repeatedly reported work ethic as a problem in retaining employees. 
To remedy this problem, Loe reported the HSU Small Business Technology Development Center is providing work ethic and business dress seminars.
“The Chamber connected this organization to the high school and the College Prep Academy. These seminars are now being offered to those not yet in the full-time workforce,” Loe explained.
In addition, Loe said both universities and Arkadelphia High School are staying informed on the needs of education for Sun Paper.
“We have to make plans that will ensure that locals can be prepared for new job opportunities,” said Loe.
As far is tourism is concerned, Loe said the focus of the Diamond Lakes Regional Visitors Center is to track visitors.
The center promotes Arkadelphia activities such as festivals, Arkadelphia Arts Center, university events, sports, historical museum and the aquatic park. A part-time staff member and two volunteers are responsible for the operation of the center.
According to Loe, 500 tickets were sold at this year’s Crawfest. The number is up from previous years when 350 tickets were sold.
“This number does not count those who attended but did not purchase a crawfish ticket,” said Loe, who reminded the board that this year’s Crawfest was moved to the Arkadelphia Parks and Recreation Center because of a severe thunderstorm in the area.
“Without the great partnerships of the city and Southern Bancorp this event would not happen. This event requires at least 30 volunteers to work,” Loe explained.
In addition, Loe said the Chamber is active with the Downtown Arkadelphia organization. She reminded the board that the county fair, rodeo and Arktoberfest are pending events for the community.
Loe said an adult business ordinance and voluntary annexation are pending decisions between the Chamber and the city.
The Chamber is expected to host business after hours and ribbon cutting in the coming weeks.
“I believe we are in a great place as far as the Chamber and the city working for the business community,” said Loe.
“We are definitely preparing for future growth.”