Rogers: Macon Ridge needs $250K in state funds to serve entire area

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 24, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — As of Friday, Macon Ridge Economic Development Region President Buddy Spillers was still lobbying the Legislature for $250,000 in funding for fiscal 2000-01.

And getting such funding is essential for Macon Ridge, a non-profit economic development agency, to be able to serve the vast majority of the 12-parish area it serve, said Macon Ridge Vice President Chip Rogers.

Macon Ridge also got $2.95 million in funding from the federal government in 1994 because part of the area it serves is a federally designated Enterprise Community. Those funds are still being used to provide services, Rogers said.

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But such funds can only be used to serve the EC area. The EC only includes two Census tracts in Tensas Parish, one tract in Franklin Parish and the parts of Concordia and Catahoula parishes lying north of U.S. 84 and west of Tumminello Road near Ferriday are considered a federal Enterprise Community. That is only about 10 percent of the geographical area covered by Macon Ridge, Rogers said.

&uot;So we need this (money) to be able to serve the other 90 percent of the Macon Ridge area,&uot;&160;Rogers said.

That area includes towns like Vidalia.

&uot;This gives them additional money to work with other parishes … and with towns like us that aren’t inside the EC,&uot;&160;said Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland, who said his town does work with Macon Ridge to attract industrial prospects.

Earlier this week, Copeland went to Baton Rouge to lobby for the Macon Ridge funding as well as money to retain an economic development professional to serve northeast Louisiana.

Services Macon Ridge provides include industrial recruiting, services for existing industries, developing websites for businesses and local governments, grant writing assistance, small business development and strategic planning assistance.