Concordia Parish gets economic director

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 24, 2008

VIDALIA — In mid-August, a native daughter of Concordia Parish will take charge as its director of economic development.

The Concordia Economic and Industrial Development District board hired Vidalia native Heather Malone as the district’s new director, board Chairman Richard Young said.

“We had a lot of good applications come in, and when we reviewed them she was the best,” Young said.

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Currently the director of marketing and membership for the Low Country Economic Network in Beaufort County, S.C., Malone said though the opportunity came sooner than expected, her plans had always been to return to Concordia Parish.

“I always knew I wanted to go away and experience something else, and then come back,” she said.

The job of the economic director will be to help find ways to stimulate the existing local economy as well as attract new businesses.

“She will go out to local businesses and talk to people in the parish about what they need,” Young said.

When she starts, Malone said she plans to meet with the development district board to get a feel for their plans.

“I’ll also begin attending town and city council meetings to acquaint myself with the needs and the wants of the area,” she said.

Getting the word out about the area is one of Malone’s first priorities, she said.

“We definitely need to start some sort of marketing for the area so we can let people know who we are and what we have to offer,” she said.

Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin said he looks forward to working with Malone on some of the ongoing, unfinished projects in Ferriday’s downtown.

“With things like downtown revitalization and the Pasternak project, I need someone like (Malone) to come in and move it forward,” McGlothin said.

One of the larger projects Malone will take the helm on is bringing about the Port of Concordia Parish, Young said.

“We need that because we have a lot of river navigation available here, and we have a lot of neighboring parishes and communities such as Jonesville and Jena that could use the port with U.S. 84 connecting them,” Young said.

The position has been open for some time, since former director Teresa Dennis left it, Young said.

Malone begins as director Aug. 15.