Region unity ongoing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

VIDALIA — Efforts to unite the Miss-Lou as an economic region will continue next week.

This time it will be by hosting Joe Black, who was influential in forming a regional plan for Helena-West Helena, Ark., and who will share what his community did to foster regionalism.

A similar program by Charlotte, N.C., -based Ronnie Bryant was hosted in late June, but the Helena-West Helena demographics are closer to those of the Miss-Lou.

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“In the Helena-West Helena case, they were able to get the communities to work together on certain projects,” Concordia Economic Director Heather Malone said. “This case study has been studied by many others who study regionalism.”

The Louisiana Delta Initiative is presenting the forum.

The forum, which will be Aug. 4, will have four parts.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. will be a meeting with Concordia Parish business and civic leaders to discuss their views on regionalism.

At 10 a.m. will be a similar open forum, except for Adams County-based businesses and leaders.

At noon, Black will present the Helena-West Helena case study to the public.

At 1:30 p.m., Black will have a roundtable discussion about the input from the Concordia Parish and Adams County communities with the newly formed Miss-Lou Steering Committee.

The committee is composed of business, civic, economic, media and chamber of commerce leaders from Natchez-Adams County, Concordia Parish and Ferriday.

The committee’s first meeting was Tuesday.

“We all agreed that we wanted to take the Miss-Lou to the next step,” Malone said. “Right now we’re working on the steps we need to take to work together as a region.

“We are excited to get started and everybody understands that this needs to happen sooner rather than later.”

The forum will be at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center, and is open to the public.

The noon session will include a light lunch, and will cost $6, Malone said.