The state has confirmed a tip that work has been delayed on the start of construction of a Czech gunmaker’s plant at the Little Rock Port, announced by Governor Hutchinson with great fanfare in April 2019.

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The CZ USA project received significant public support, including 73 free acres of land at the port, and was expected to create 565 jobs. In April 2019, officials said work would begin immediately and the plant would open by March 2020.

A statement from Alisha Curtis of the Commerce Department:

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AEDC, the Port of Little Rock, and CZ have mutually agreed to extend to June 1, 2021 the date by which construction of CZ’s new plant must start. The delay is necessary because the COVID-19 pandemic has made travel between the Czech Republic and the U.S. very difficult. CZ staff must be able to freely travel to Little Rock in order to supervise construction. We are hopeful that will improve by next Spring. CZ has emphasized that they remain committed to the project and are appreciative of our willingness to work with them on the construction timeline.

The Czech Republic, once lauded for its success in dealing with the pandemic, is now experiencing a reversal and faces a lockdown.

But CZ USA has faced other difficulties, as the Arkansas Blog reported before.

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In February, before the pandemic had become an issue, we reported about reluctance in financial markets to fund firearms projects. This was 10 months after the state had said the work would begin immediately. At that time, CZ said it hoped to begin construction in the second half of this year (2020), but also noted they were working on “creating an appropriate funding framework.”

Wouldn’t due diligence include a thorough review of the financial capability of a beneficiary of millions in public assistance?

UPDATE: I asked Curtis if there was concern about their financing. Her response: “No.”