Meeting shows all behind partnership

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Leaders and community members from both sides of the river had a great opportunity last week to come together and talk about the future direction of our community &045; not just Natchez or Vidalia or Ferriday but the entire Miss-Lou.

Both elected officials and business leaders shared their ideas on economic development, and everyone agreed that the goals for Adams County, Concordia Parish and our neighbors are the same.

But we all know that talk, without any action, is cheap.

Email newsletter signup

Our recommendation is that those who know economic development best &045; the EDA directors from both sides of the river, along with the mayors and economic development boards &045; get together and determine what the next steps should be.

In terms of communication and cooperation, it’s likely the best steps will include lobbying first for a labor study of our entire area which will show potential industries what they can expect not just from Vidalia or Natchez but from the entire Miss-Lou.

That group also needs to begin taking steps to lobby their states’ respective legislatures for the kind of agreement Mississippi and Alabama have &045; one that will allow them to share resources and even grant funding to pursue economic development opportunities. Mississippi lawmakers are pushing Alabama to sign off on legislation for their agreement &045; we need those same lawmakers to realize that the other side of the state needs the same attention.

Meanwhile, here at home we must continue to work to help ourselves by building our economic development toolbox. Developing property for an industrial park; partnering public and private entities; and putting the best face on our community through beautification efforts are among the greatest ways that all of us can contribute to the economic development effort.

Thursday’s meeting showed that both sides of the river &045; not just the elected officials but a cross-section of the community &045; are interested in a partnership. Now we just have to convince those who are in the best position to help us make that a reality.