- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

GURDON, Ark. (AP) - Southern Arkansas residents say they’re optimistic about Georgia-Pacific’s plan to invest $37 million at its lumber operations in Gurdon.

The company wants to expand its production capacity by about 60 percent. Improvements will include installing a new continuous dry kiln and planer mill, among other infrastructure changes.

The owner of the Pizza & Taco Barn, Kendra Raines, told the Texarkana Gazette (https://bit.ly/1wmyo6X ) that she believes the company’s investment will increase sales tax revenues in Gurdon during construction. She called the announcement “exciting.”

“Anytime an industry announces an expansion in a small town, it’s great,” said Thaisa Vandiver, a waitress at the Pizza & Taco Barn. “It gives our kids a chance after they graduate of staying here and not having to move off.”

Clark County officials also weighed in on the company’s expansion and said it would help Gurdon’s economy.

“This as a win-win for the citizens of Gurdon and Georgia-Pacific,” Clark County Judge Ron Daniell said. “These upgrades will not only support Georgia-Pacific’s expansion, but will help us in our effort to recruit more industry to our region.”

Georgia-Pacific says it’s also thinking about an additional $20 million in investments at the nearby Gurdon plywood mill. They say it would increase the mill’s efficiency and capacity and further reduce air emissions.

About 2,700 people work for the company in Arkansas, with about 630 located in Gurdon. The company has declined to say how many new jobs will be added during and after construction work.

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Information from: Texarkana Gazette, https://www.texarkanagazette.com

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