Unfilled job positions could hinder city's growth

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - Anyone looking for a job might want to start in Walnut Ridge where there are several current openings.

With the possibility of new businesses coming to the area, the need for jobs to be filled in the city is becoming more important.

Mayor Charles Snapp said that there are currently several businesses looking to possibly build in Walnut Ridge, including a Dollar Tree, a convenience store, and a business development park.

Aside from the new businesses, Walnut Ridge already has around 70 jobs available in the city limits and an estimated 300 within 12 miles of Main Street.

"We're in a critical area, where if we don't get the people we're not going to be able to continue getting the businesses and the industry in that we need," Snapp said.

One business that is already established in Walnut Ridge is holding off on a multi-billion dollar expansion because it can't fill the jobs already available.

Custom-Pak has had around 40 job openings available for over a year and is not able to continue with the expansion until the current positions are filled.

Snapp said he believes the jobs aren't being filled because of the lack of housing in the city, which is actually a problem the whole county is working on.

"We need housing to give the people an opportunity to live here," Snapp said. "That's our single largest problem right now is not enough people to fill the jobs."

Another duplex permit was issued Wednesday and the city has around 35 residential structures currently under construction, according to Snapp.

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