Economic development awards held virtually

The Hot Springs Metro Partnership held its annual meeting and economic development awards virtually this year, according to an HSMP news release.

The event, which was sponsored by CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, can be viewed on the HSMP website,

The HSMP holds its annual meeting and awards ceremony every year to thank its investors and inform them of the progress is has made during the previous year.

"The event honors those who worked tirelessly throughout the previous year to help provide Hot Springs and Garland County with an outstanding economic climate by bringing in more jobs and investment in the community," the release said.

The following is a list of the winners:

• Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, the Economic Force Award, which is presented to a vital company in the Hot Springs Metro region.

"Oaklawn made the single-largest investment of the year in 2019 and is creating more jobs at one time than any other single entity," the release said. "When Oaklawn undertook a $100 million expansion of its casino and the construction of a new 4-star hotel and conference center, it heightened Hot Springs' position in the national conversation and directly and indirectly spurred millions more in investment and new business activity in the community."

Other nominees were Radius Aerospace, US Vanadium, Cobalt Aero Services and Ritter Communications.

• Vince Signorelli, the Economic Development Leadership Award, which is presented to an individual who has shown strong leadership in economic development efforts.

In 2019, Signorelli's company "continued to bring national attention to Hot Springs by hosting the US National Indoor Pickleball Championships at the Hot Springs Convention Center. His companies, Tanners Team Sports and Vulcan Pickleball, "continue to innovate new products and lead the market in worldwide baseball, pickleball, and other sporting goods sales." In 2019, Signorelli and his company received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade.

Other nominees included Forrest Spicher, Diane LaFollette, Lesley Nalley and Majestic Ballpark Committee.

• Crystal Ridge Distillery, Downtown Trailblazer Award, which is presented to the entity that made a significant investment in downtown Hot Springs.

Crystal Ridge renovated a vacant warehouse building on Broadway and "breathed new life into the building and this area of town by opening a craft moonshine distillery, restaurant, bar and retail store. When the coronavirus struck, they used their distilling resources to pivot into the manufacture of hand sanitizer which has become a Hot Springs staple."

Other nominees included Splash Wine Bar, The Waters Hotel Rooftop and Hotel Hale.

• Hotel Hale, Historic Preservation Champion, which is presented to the entity that has shown great care for the preservation of a historic structure.

Already winning the statewide award for Excellence in Preservation, Hotel Hale took a bath house in Hot Springs National Park that had been vacant for decades and "transformed it into a beautiful new hotel and restaurant. This new addition to downtown has added much-needed high-end hotel rooms and a wonderful new dining option to the Hot Springs experience."

Other nominees included Capone's Loft, Crystal Ridge Distillery and McGrew Companies.

• Radius Aerospace, Trending Upwards Award, which is given to the entity that made a sizable investment and created new jobs in the community.

Radius Aerospace was the partnership's single-largest manufacturing expansion project of the year. "This company announced a $24 million new investment in Hot Springs coupled with the creation of 65 new jobs. With their origins headquartered in the heart of Hot Springs since 1966, and with locations in four other states and the U.K., they are on the leading edge of their industry, building a new titanium forming facility which is the future material for aircraft parts."

• Hill & Cox Corp., the Chairman's Award, a special recognition selected by the chairman of the board to "recognize someone who has made a positive impact on the community but may not fit into one of our other categories."

In 2019, the locally owned company built projects valued at over $57 million, including construction on new buildings for National Park College, Hot Springs School District and CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs. "They contracted with over 600 skilled workers on these projects injecting millions back into the local economy through payroll, the purchasing of materials, and having out of town contractors patronize local hotels, restaurants and other businesses."

"What a difference both our deserving winners and worthy nominees made to drive both Hot Springs and Garland County forward in the past year and a half," Gary Troutman, president and CEO of the HSMP. "Though we had to hold the event virtually, that in no way diminishes the many outstanding achievements and accomplishments of our nominees."

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