The mayor of Cave Springs hopes a $1.25 million federal grant will attract new businesses to the small Benton County community.
A federal community development block grant will provide 100 percent of the funding to improve and expand the downtown area’s sewer system, Mayor Larry Smith said Monday.
Smith said the current septic system fails and takes a toll on area businesses, causing not only an environmental issue but a financial issue.
“Now we can say, if you’ve got a business and want to come to Cave Springs, we have 10,000 cars a day that pass here,” Smith said. “If you want to bring a business to Cave Springs, you can do that. We can meet your needs, both water and sewer and all utilities.”
The grant through the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission was obtained after a 20-month effort by the mayor’s office and community leaders who participated in a low-to-moderate income survey.
Attracting new business to downtown Cave Springs wasn’t the only reason for the effort. Smith said another focus is the health of the area residents and property owners and the protection of the adjacent Little Osage Creek, a tributary of the Illinois River.
“The City of Cave Springs is uniquely situated in the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area at the crossroads of the region’s major transportation, business, education, arts and outdoor resources,” said Smith. “It has been the number one goal of my administration to fund and build this downtown sewer project, and the receipt of this 100% grant means that this project will soon come to fruition and Cave Springs will soon become a destination rather than just a crossroads. “
Smith called the grant a ‘major milestone event’ for the future growth of the downtown area.