Town working on grants, requests for economic development funding

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2004

VIDALIA, La. &045; With riverfront development humming along, Vidalia officials are turning their attention &045; along with grant applications and capital outlay requests &045; toward economic development.

Mayor Hyram Copeland capped a week of meetings with the area’s Congressional delegation with a special city council meeting to address funding requests for new projects.

Council members approved a grant application from USDA Rural Development for $440,000, money that would be used for the loading and unloading facility at the Vidalia Industrial Park on the river.

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In addition, they approved a resolution seeking capital outlay funding from the Legislature to apply toward industrial recruitment and the industrial park facility.

Copeland told council members gathered for the short meeting that his time in Washington this week amounted to &uot;one of the best meetings we’ve had in many years&uot; with the area’s House and Senate representatives.

Theresa Dennis, executive director of the Concordia Parish Economic Development Authority, said the delegation had good news about transportation improvements for the parish.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, she said, has promised $2 million in a highways bill for four-laning in his district, and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu pledged help as well.

&uot;Hopefully by the time that is tallied, we can expect $8 million in commitments (from the Congressional delegation),&uot; Dennis said.

That work &045; along with what is already being done in Mississippi to four-lane highways through the Miss-Lou &045; will help improve economic development efforts, Copeland said. &uot;We’re real excited about our transportation system,&uot; he said. On the state level, as well, &uot;the governor is going to focus on economic development, so the future looks good.&uot;

The Vidalia Industrial Park has at least one likely tenant, a rubber recycling plant, and Copeland said officials are working on other industrial prospects he could not name.