BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) –Despite some concern from residents, the Batesville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow American Silica to build a new facility north of town.
"It will definitely be an asset to our community," said Rick Elumbaugh, mayor of Batesville.
Elumbaugh is excited about a new economic development opportunity for his community. American Silica is planning to build a sand processing plant on about 240 acres near the North Recreation Complex.
"For them to gain access to the property, they had to come across our northern edge of our North Recreation Complex," Elumbaugh added.
The company is hoping to extend a railroad spur near the Batesville baseball fields. The addition would cross into the area near the fields, so the Batesville City Council voted Tuesday to grant access to the land if the company meets certain criteria.
"The criteria is that there's a walking trail in the way there, and they will rebuild the walking track," Elumbaugh said. "The rail spur will also be protected by an eight-foot high fence."
American Silica also agreed to give the city about 10 acres of land adjoining the recreation complex. The approximately $15 million facility will provide sand to free up wells at a mining site in Sharp County.
Mayor Elumbaugh expects the project to create about 90 jobs locally, most workers starting at $20 per hour.
"So that's a little higher wages than a lot of individuals we have in Independence County, so it will be a definite plus," Elumbaugh said.
American Silica expects to have the sand processing facility open in Batesville by September.