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El Dorado economic base: oil, timber, manufacturing.

El Dorado is in the heart of the Timberlands region of Arkansas. Here among the pine trees and hardwoods is some of the best deer hunting and bass fishing found in the natural state.

El Dorado is the county seat of the largest county in the state with 1,039 square miles. Union County has a population of 45,629 residents and boasts the second-highest percapita personal income in Arkansas.

The city experienced an oil boom when "black gold" was discovered in 1921. Visitors still experience the wealth of the boom, which is reflected in the impressive buildings in the El Dorado National Historic District, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tree-tined streets beckon visitors to ringer in the shops and eateries in the historic downtown.

Transportation

Commute times to and from work in El Dorado are hard to beat. The average travel time for residents is barely 13 minutes. The accessibility of different types of travel and transportation is equally impressive.

El Dorado is within a two-hour drive of Littte Rock and Shreveport and only four hours from Memphis or Dallas. Interstate 20 is only 36 miles south of Union County; three U.S. Highways--82, 63 and 167--intersect at El Dorado. In order to provide better access into the region from interstate highways, major construction projects by the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department and the Louisiana Transportation Commission are currently widening and upgrading U.S. 167 to four lanes.

The South Arkansas regional Airport offers dairy service to Dallas/Forth Worth. The 6,600-foot runway will accommodate corporate and medium-sized jets. Union Pacific Railway connects El Dorado to all of the major cities to the south and west. The Ouachita River links Union County to ports of America.

Economic Base

El Dorado is home to Fortune 500 company Murphy Oil Corp. and is known as the "oil capital of Arkansas." The city has a diverse mixture of companies contributing to its economic base that includes off refiners, financial institutions, timber industries, chemical companies, food processing plants, service industries, a regional medical center, retailers and governmental agencies.

Although best known for off, timber and chemical industries, El Dorado also has a solid manufacturing base. The county's total employment base in manufacturing is 31 percent, compared with the U.S. average of 19 percent.

Major employers in El Dorado include Murphy Oil Corp., Chemtura (formerly Great Lakes Chemical Corp.), Lion Oil Refining Co., Deltic Timber Corp., Anthony Forest Products, Pilgrim's Pride, Entegra, the Medical Center of South Arkansas and the Arkansas Oil & Gas Commission.

Downtown Development

El Dorado is also a retail trade center for a large portion of south Arkansas and north Louisiana.

An awarding-winning Main Street program is one reason that the Arkansas Times named the downtown historic district "the best downtown in Arkansas." The downtown area provides an eclectic mix of specialty shops offering upscale clothing, health foods, gourmet coffees, golf accessories and a host of other goods and services.

The historic district also provides unique dining choices on every corner of the revitalized square. An outstanding entertainment district flourishes with a variety of outdoor dining, live music venues, old-fashioned pubs and downtown accommodations.

El Dorado has a mixture of national chain stores and locally owned businesses. New additions to the local business and travel economies include Home Depot, Applebee's, Office Depot and the newly constructed Arkansas Welcome Center and El Dorado Chamber of Commerce. Approximately 120 new lodging rooms have been added or are under construction including Comfort Suites, Hampton Inn and Country Inn & Suites. The local SHARE Foundation recently completed the expansion of a state-of-the-art wellness and aquatics facility, HealthWorks Fitness Center.

Education

The El Dorado Education Foundation (EDEF) is a nonprofit organization that recognizes excellence with financial incentives for teachers. In the past five years, the foundation has awarded more than $250,000 to educators who propose innovative projects to enhance learning.

Perhaps the most noteworthy contribution of the EDEF has been to assist in the establishment of the nation's first elementary and secondary school endowed chair program in mathematics, science and foreign language. The foundation is not the only organization active in recognizing and rewarding educational achievement in the El Dorado School District. Murphy Oil Corp. makes significant cash awards to outstanding students in the district through its Murphy Education Program.

South Arkansas Community College, a two-year college located in El Dorado, offers traditional academic and occupational education as well as customized training for local business and industry.

The Medical Center of South Arkansas is expanding its services as a regional medical center with the development of a cardiovascular surgery program and the opening of two new facilities in 2006. These will include a new 29,000-SF building dedicated to women's health and a new medical office building that will be home to the South Arkansas Nephrology Associates, physicians' offices, cardiologists and a cardiovascular surgeon.

Want to know more about El Dorado? log on to www.goeldorado.com for a comprehensive look at living, working and enjoying El Dorado. The official Web site is a coordinated project between the city of El Dorado, the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and the El Dorado Advertising & Promotions Commission.
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Title Annotation:On the Move
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Advertisement
Date:Sep 26, 2005
Words:867
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