FORT SMITH -- The Western Arkansas Planning and Development District has set its sights on relocating its office, with the Chaffee Crossing area being a strong possibility.
Sasha Grist, district executive director, told the district's Board of Directors on Wednesday that the sites its building committee looked at last month in Chaffee Crossing are feasible for a new office building.
The Western Arkansas Planning and Development District is an organization that provides information, support and services concerning a variety of fields to those in Crawford, Franklin, Logan, Polk, Scott and Sebastian counties. This includes community and economic development, workforce development, transportation improvement, 911 emergency services and geographic information system/utility mapping.
Grist believes the next step will be for the committee to discuss these options with Fort Smith-based MAHG Architecture. She will also meet with real estate agencies next week to ensure there aren't any other sites the committee missed in Fort Smith.
Grist said the district's office at 1109 S. 16th St. in Fort Smith was built in 1979 before the district moved in in 1991. She said despite an addition to the building in 2012, the district has insufficient space to be able to carry out the services and hire the staff it needs, having "outgrown" the property.
Daniel Rogers, the mayor of Paris and chairman of the Board of Directors, said he believes a new office building will allow the district to do more for the counties and cities in its service area. This has included bringing in millions of dollars for these communities by helping them apply for federal and state grants.