Alcorn, EDA interested in technology park concept

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Near the top of Woody Allen’s to-do list this week is seeking a conversation with Alcorn State University President Dr. Clinton Bristow.

Having heard that Bristow is interested in what Alcorn can do to help the city and county establish a technology park, Allen &045; chairman of the economic development authority board &045; wants to pool their ideas.

&uot;It would be something we would be thrilled to be involved in,&uot; Allen said.

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&uot;Technology is the way of the future,&uot; he said. A technology park &045; an update of the traditional industrial park &045; &uot;can encompass that in a lot of different areas, more than just smokestack industry.&uot;

Considering a technology park requires economic development officials to think outside the box.

&uot;We’re geared up for hard industry,&uot; Allen said. &uot;That’s what we have had for the last 50 years.&uot;

International Paper, though, is scheduled to close the doors of its mill this summer.

Since taking on the chairmanship of the EDA board, Allen has been interested in establishing industries such as call centers or office technology businesses.

For his part, Bristow said this week that he would like to see Alcorn &045; which shares a Natchez campus with Copiah-Lincoln Community College &045; partner with the city and county on economic development projects.

Bristow, of course, has a selfish interest for the school: Alcorn, with an MBA building under construction, is a major investor in the community. He also refers many new professors to Natchez for housing.

But Bristow also simply wants to see Natchez succeed.

&uot;The bottom line is we want to be a partner with anyone who’s interested in talking about a new economy,&uot; Bristow said.

The university has been in talks to help bring a digital imaging company

Establishing a technology park and encouraging development of financial entities will bring Natchez into the future, Bristow said.

&uot;Your image is that we are a 21st-century player,&uot; he said. &uot;In actuality, you’re diversifying your economy.&uot;

Bristow does not think Natchez has to limit itself to a technology park. He envisions one working in tandem with a traditional industrial park.