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Thanks to the people of Clark County and the members of the quorum court, the first goal of the economic development section of the Clark County Strategic Plan has been accomplished, said Phil Baldwin, an advisory member to the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County.

Baldwin spoke to the quorum court Monday night about the restructuring of the chambers of commerce in the county and the establishment of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance.

Under the regional alliance, the county’s chambers of commerce, the EDCCC, the Clark County Industrial Council, and other related entities will join forces. Paul Harvel, recently hired as leader of the EDCCC, will become the president and chief executive officer of the alliance, Baldwin said.

The establishment of the alliance is the first goal of the economic development portion of the CCSP. Each action step listed under the goal are the steps that have been completed to accomplish the goal. Another action step was completed last year, Baldwin said. That step was to pass and begin collections of the 1/2-cent sales tax for economic development.

Baldwin complimented Harvel for bringing the alliance into existence, even before he officially begins work. He is scheduled to take the reins of the organizations on July 1. “We’re following Paul’s lead,” Baldwin said. “He was a great find for us.”

The formation of the alliance will allow the area to become much more marketable to prospective businesses and industries, Baldwin said. “We’re excited about this. We think this will make a difference in our county.”

Baldwin urged the members of the court to attend a meeting Monday at the Walker Conference Center at Ouachita Baptist University. Harvel will explain further the alliance and his plans to bring more industries and jobs to Clark County.

County Judge Ron Daniell also encouraged all justices to attend the meeting. “It’s important for everyone to come out to the meeting Monday night” to hear about the plan, the judge said. The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 19.

In other business, the court passed a resolution allowing Randy Garner to officiate at marriages in the county. The resolution was brought to the court by Travis Berry, a local attorney, and sponsored by Justice of the Peace Jonathan Huber.

Berry’s daughter plans to be married in June, and wants Garner to perform the ceremony. Under state law, the quorum court may appoint persons to solemnize marriages, as long as no more than two persons for each 10,000 in population are appointed. Only one other such appointment has been made. Clark County Clerk Rhonda Cole is also allowed to administer the oath of marriage. Under state law, judges of courts, including the county judge, justices of the peace, some former justices of the peace, mayors and ordained ministers and priests are allowed to perform wedding ceremonies.

Garner is the education minister at Second Baptist Church in Arkadelphia.

Only JP E.B. Green voted against the ordinance, saying he was concerned that “we’d have a rush” of people applying for similar privileges.

In his report, Daniell told justices that the county road department crews are making repairs to county roads. The roads have been damaged by heavy rains and flooding this spring.