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Group to talk housing

VIDALIA — If you build it, they will come, and with two new industries heading to the area, the Miss-Lou Regional Steering Committee is working to make sure there are enough places for those who do flock to the Miss-Lou for work to stay.

The committee’s subcommittee on housing is meeting at noon today at the Community Room at Concordia Bank and Trust in Vidalia to discuss the current housing situation in the Miss-Lou and what can be done to make it better.

“We are looking for anyone with an interest in housing, whether it be business or personal,” Concordia Parish Economic and Industrial Development District Executive Director Heather Malone said. “We want to take an inventory of the housing we currently have, and look at that to see where our needs are for the future.”

Malone said the recent acquisitions of Elevance and Enersteel in Natchez mean there are going to be people coming to the area for work, and they need a place to lay their heads at night.

“We hope many already living here are going to get some of those jobs,” she said. “But we want to be prepared for more residents, and to do that we need to first take a look at where we currently are.”

Malone said the biggest housing problem in the Miss-Lou is the lack of single-family dwellings.

With a number of temporary jobs also available from the new industries, Malone said the area is also struggling from a lack of temporary housing, such as apartments and condos.

“There are going to be a lot of construction jobs for these two new industries that are going to require some form of temporary housing,” she said. “We want to have a place for them to stay, so that when they are here, they are doing all the things residents of a city do.

“We are going to try and create some relationships with developers, and not only developers, but investors to try and attract new developers,” she said. “We are also going to have to work on the demolition of some of the more dilapidated housing in the area.”

Malone said the housing problem is something the steering committee is very committed to solving.

“We may be coming on the backside of the Elevance and Enersteel announcements,” she said. “But we can definitely be ahead for the next industry that decides to move this way.”

The meeting is open to anyone interested, and lunch will be served at $5 a plate.

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