During a brief ceremony Monday morning, Phillips County Judge Clark Hall swore in Helena's Joe St. Columbia as a member of the Mississippi River Parkway Commission of Arkansas. Governor Asa Hutchinson announced St. Columbia's re-appointment to the post earlier in the day.

During a brief ceremony Monday morning, Phillips County Judge Clark Hall swore in Helena's Joe St. Columbia as a member of the Mississippi River Parkway Commission of Arkansas. Governor Asa Hutchinson announced St. Columbia's re-appointment to the post earlier in the day.

The MRPC is a multi-state organization that's primary objective is to preserve and enhance the scenic, historic and recreational aspects of the Mighty Mississippi River. The MRPC consists of a group of commissioners from all of the states that border the Father of Waters.

The commission was established in 1938 and funded by Congress during President Franklin Roosevelt's administration. Over the years efforts by the MRPC helped leverage millions of dollars of funds for highway improvements, recreation trails, bikeways, scenic overlooks and historic preservations.

The MRPC manages domestic and international markets for the Mississippi River Valley and helps with efforts to promote economic development and resource development. Other areas that fall under the umbrella of the MRPC include transportation, marketing, cultural heritage and environment.

Arkansas' Great River Road runs through the rich fertile land of the Delta in Phillips County including the communities of Helena-West Helena, Marvell and Elaine.

“I am very proud to be on this vital, tourist-driven commission appointed by the governor to work for the fine people of Phillips County,” stated St. Columbia.

St. Columbia has served on the commission for over 15 years. Currently, he serves as Arkansas' state chairman. He also serves on the national MRPC board located in Minnesota.

In 2012, St. Columbia helped Arkansas receive the highly coveted “Piolet's Award.”

Ten states border the Mississippi River that flows almost 2,500 miles starting at Lake Itasca in Minnesota until it empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

“I have personally traveled both sides of the river from Canada to the Gulf on what is referred to as 'The Great River Road,'” said St. Columbia.