CN, Stilwell officials open road for business, job development
STILWELL – Cherokee Nation and Stilwell city officials dedicated a new three-lane access road on Sept. 21 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Wingfield Crossing.
The new annex provides access to and from Walmart as well as expands potential new businesses on Highway 100 east.
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner met with Stilwell Mayor Jean Ann Wright, Chamber of Commerce members and partners to celebrate the project’s completion.
The roadway was the first step in the city’s economic development project to bring businesses and jobs to Stilwell by providing an effective roadway to get to them.
“This road project will enhance safety, promote economic development and be a catalyst for positive growth in Stilwell and Adair County,” Hoskin said. “As we endeavor to prosper the Cherokee Nation, partnerships such as this are instrumental in achieving a better standard of living for our citizens and providing employment opportunities within the 14 counties that make up the Cherokee Nation.”
The CN was awarded a $250,000 Rural Development – Rural Business Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which the tribe contributed to fund a portion of the construction costs for the road totaling $642,800.
The road is named Wingfield Crossing in honor of Stilwell small business owners Pete and Leeota Wingfield who lived on the north end of the development site.
“I hope this development creates jobs for our community and opportunities for people to shop Stilwell,” said Wright. “It is vitally important that we keep our commerce local when possible. We are seeing progress in our city and we want to keep that momentum going.”
City leaders began discussing the project in 2013. The idea was to create opportunities for additional retail development in Adair County, which would create jobs and revenue as well as open trade to rural parts of western Arkansas. Currently, the first two-acre tract is under contract for a retail store that will create about 40 jobs. The development site also includes additional space for more businesses and more job opportunities.
The CN has a total $68 million economic investment in Adair County, officials said.