Leaders hope to learn from Tupelo

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 25, 1999

A group of the Miss-Lou’s business and government leaders will visit the Tupelo-based Community Development Foundation Oct. 14.

During the one-day trip, they will find out from CDF officials how the foundation brought 92,000 jobs to and tripled annual retail sales in its 22-county coverage area in 18 years – and get suggestions on how to create a regional economic development group here.

With the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority’s future still in doubt, and with a consistent double-digit jobless rate in Concordia Parish, finding a new way to attract industry could be more crucial than ever.

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&uot;And it just makes sense to work regionally,&uot;&160;said Linda Gardner, director of the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce and Vidalia economic development director.

&uot;When industries are looking to locate in an area, they look at what is available not just in one particular city, but within a 50-mile radius.&uot;

Gardner hopes that at least 38 people will sign up to go on the trip so that the group can fill a chartered bus. So far, only a few have registered. Local businesses are also being asked to foot the bill for renting the bus, estimated at about $1,500. Natchez Community Development Director James Johnston, who has signed up to go on the trip, believes the expense and time will be worth it.

&uot;This will show people that it can be done, because Tupelo has done it,&uot;&160;Johnston said. &uot;We’ll see how they’ve accomplished their successes and bring those ideas back to promote our own area.&uot;

&uot;I hope this trip will help motivate everyone to take action on working on a regional concept for our area,&uot;&160;Gardner said.