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Southern Bancorp project to provide matching funds for revitalization efforts in historic downtown corridor

HELENA, ARK. – Southern Bancorp announced this week the launch of the Riverside Renewal Project, a program to accelerate the revitalization of historic downtown Helena by matching investments in eligible commercial and residential properties dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000.

The Riverside Renewal Project is part of a trifecta of economic development tools being utilized by Southern in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in an effort to promote job growth and increase economic development opportunities in the Delta. Other projects include the Helena Start-Up Challenge, a business plan competition, and the Helena Jobs Incentive, which provides financial incentives to businesses that create jobs within the Helena city limits, at the Helena Harbor and in the local industrial park.

“Southern is on a mission to create new economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural communities, and this project underscores our commitment to finding new and innovative ways to both revitalize and help transform them into stronger, more sustainable centers of economic growth,” said Southern Bancorp, Inc. CEO Darrin Williams.

The Riverside Renewal Project, administered by Southern’s non-profit affiliate, Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP), will provide a 1:1 match with a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $100,000, for economic development projects within a specific area of downtown Helena. Eligible projects include the development of commercial and/or residential property that contributes to broader revitalization efforts such as restaurants, retail, entertainment, apartments and hotels. Applications are due for consideration by March 31st, at which time SBCP staff will review applications to determine eligibility, project strength and alignment to the overall goals of the project. Small-businesses, minority-owned and women-owned businesses are encouraged to apply; however, equal opportunity will be given to all applicants.

“We’re looking for individuals and businesses with an entrepreneurial spirit and the capacity to convert it to jobs and economic opportunities,” said Williams. “We believe that rural communities in the Delta and across rural America deserve the opportunity to earn their way into prosperity just like their urban counterparts.”

Interested parties can learn more about the Riverside Renewal Project by visiting or contacting Brooke Gerber at or 870-816-1115. For media inquiries, contact Nathan Pittman at or 501-850-8980.

Southern Bancorp is one of America’s largest rural development banks, serving over 80,000 customers at 39 branches in both Arkansas and Mississippi. Southern invests in people and businesses in rural communities; empowers them to improve their lives; and helps them transform their communities.
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