Time to get serious about economic development

Published 11:19 pm Monday, July 10, 2017

Adams County needs to find a way quickly to complete a levee at the county’s prime industrial development site.

The matter must become a front-burner issue as county supervisors budget for the next fiscal year.

Economically, the Mississippi River is our biggest asset. It’s what sets us apart from dozens of other cities in the state of Mississippi.

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But that same river, when left uncontrolled, makes development here extremely difficult, a gamble even.

The highly developable land at the former Belwood Country Club site is ripe for development, but only when a levee is built.

The problem with the site that plagued golfers for many years remains an impediment to progress — seasonal flooding.

The county has dallied with building a levee around the site for many years, often taking the approach of waiting to have a prospect committed to the land before dedicating funds to construct the levee.

Last year, the county received grant funding through the Delta Regional Authority to help start construction.

The problem is the funding may be far less than the full cost of construction. County leaders and engineers estimate the total cost may be $2 million to $4 million more than the funding currently available.

That investment would be well worth it, if the levee resulted in locating a significant number of good-paying jobs on that site.

It’s time to get serious about our economic development.

The former Belwood site is the county’s best chance to get quick traction, but the site needs to be ready for development. Until the county commits to the levee and gets it built, we will continue to wish and hope for progress, rather than reap the benefits, and seasonal flooding will continue to scare away industrial prospects.