Trip gives EDA folks new ideas

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 18, 1999

On Thursday, area business and government leaders went to Tupelo to see how its Community Development Foundation does business.

Next, they will see if there is enough support among the business community to set up a regional economic development organization in the Miss-Lou – and, if so, what steps should be taken to create it.

So economic development leaders in Concordia Parish and Adams County plan to get area leaders together within two to three weeks to follow up on the Tupelo trip, said Linda Gardner, Vidalia Chamber of Commerce director.

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&uot;We need to get the public and private sectors working together on this,&uot;&160;Gardner said.

Wally Kirk, chairman of the Natchez-Adams County Economic Authority (EDA), favors creating a group to represent not only Adams County and Concordia Parish, but surrounding counties and parishes as well.

He believes a task force should be named to study the form such a group should take, preferably one based on Tupelo’s model.

&uot;Getting the task force together might take 90 days,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;It’s not something you would want to rush, because you want to make sure that what you’re doing is what is best for the whole area.&uot;

Anne Stowers, president of the Natchez Chamber of Commerce, said she would like to see that process result in more long-range economic planning and regional cooperation.

&uot;Cooperation not only with Ferriday and Vidalia, but also on this side of the river,&uot;&160;Stowers said.

But to make any of that happen, a cross-section of the community will have to support the idea.

Toward that end, both the EDA and the Vidalia Chamber plan to brief their members on the Tupelo trip at their next meetings – on Oct. 27 and Nov. 9, respectively. In the future, businesses may also have to be willing to contribute financially to set up a regional economic development organization, Gardner said.

&uot;We may have to ask businesses to help pay for a study, a marketing analysis of the needs, strengths and weaknesses of our area as it pertains to economic development,&uot;&160;she said.

But that is not happening just yet, Gardner added. Such an organization, she said, &uot;is still in the planning stages.&uot;