Region to meet for lunch

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 16, 2010

VIDALIA — The first of three meetings promoting regional economic and personal unity will be in Vidalia today.

The Miss-Lou Steering Committee, a group composed of local elected, business and civic leaders dedicated to the concept of regionalism, will have a public meeting at noon at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center.

The steering committee has been meeting for the last seven months, and at the lunch meeting the members will recount what has been done so far and will take questions, Natchez-Adams County Chamber Director Debbie Hudson said.

The goal of the meeting — and the two that will follow — is to get the public actively involved in community improvement, Hudson said.

“Nobody has ever before put government people and the private sector together to say, ‘Hey, we are going to work on this, and this is how we are going to do it,’” she said. “This is kind of a challenge to the community that if they want to make it better, they have to be a part of it.”

After hearing from the steering committee, members of the public will have the opportunity to volunteer for five committees that will explore the areas of regional economic development, community development, health care, education, workforce development and housing.

The information from those committees will be funneled to the steering committee.

“We are not looking for the typical community leader who comes to everything, though we want them to come, too,” Concordia Parish Economic Development Director Heather Malone said. “We are wanting the public as a whole to be represented.”

The three area chambers of commerce and the local economic development bodies initially developed the steering committee, Hudson said.

“That was the first step, but then everybody stepped in,” she said.

But for the committee to be effective, Malone said the public would have to get involved.

“If we don’t get involvement from the public, this isn’t going to go anywhere,” she said.

Box lunches will be served at the meeting today. The cost for food will be $6.

The second venue will be 8:30 a.m. next Tuesday at the Arcade Theater in Ferriday, and breakfast will be served.

The third meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. March 11 at the Natchez Community Center.

“We are doing three different venues at three different times of day trying to get as many people involved as we can,” Hudson said.