Economic Task Force Formed to Help Region 8 Community

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) -- A Region 8 community is taking proactive steps to help stabilize their economy.  On Monday Batesville established an Economic Task Force for the area.  The goal is to try to protect the businesses that are already there and lure others to the region.  In the past several months, Batesville has taken two economic blows.  GDX closed it's doors and White Rodgers has announced it will close.

Former White Rodgers employee Janie Tadlock said the task force is a good move for this area.

"We need it bad here because we're losing our people.  They're having to go other places," said Tadlock.

The Economic Task Force wants to stop that from happening and keep jobs here.

"We feel in the last ten years the city of Batesville has lost 2,500 to 3,000 jobs," said task force chairman Bill Walmsley.

When one job leaves it has a trickle down effect and can have a negative impact on other businesses.  Randy Ward owns Fred's Fish House in Batesville and said it impacts him.

"As small business owners, we struggle sometimes to stay in business and it means a lot knowing there's people out there that care," said Randy Ward.

He said whenever a business closes he feels it in his business.

"We do have a problem here in Independence County and I don't believe you solve a problem until you recognize that you have a problem.  Clearly our community has recognized it has a problem," said Walmsley.

They will look at other Region 8 cities to see what is and isn't working economically to form their own plan.