Sunday, May 17, 2009

Southwest Mississippi Unveils Regional Economic Development Plan

BUDE, Miss., April 23 /PRNewswire/ --

Southwest Mississippi is poised to attract a major new employer to the region in the next 12 to 14 months, it was announced Thursday.

Leaders of the Southwest Mississippi Partnership, a 10-county consortium of economic developers, business executives and local and state officials, unveiled a new economic development plan for the region that targets three industry areas -- biomass and bio fuel production from forest product residues, distribution centers, and food products and processing -- for future growth and job expansion.

The plan, developed by a 20-member task force comprised of representatives from Momentum Mississippi, the Mississippi Development Authority, local and state government and business leaders, Entergy Mississippi and the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi, concludes that the source most likely to create new jobs by 2010 will come from the region's massive timber resources.

Details of the plan were revealed at a Southwest Economic Development conference attended by 150 local state and elected officials, economic developers and business leaders on Wednesday at Okhissa Lake. The meeting featured presentations by Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, and John Turner, economic development director of Entergy Mississippi and Carol Johnson, president of Atlanta-based Continuous Dialog and a noted economic development consultant.

"This is such a timber-rich region of our state," Swoope said. "Unfortunately, we are growing more timber than we are taking out of the forest - so there's an opportunity for biomass using wood products, wood pellets for renewables and the building industry as the economy starts to rebound."

Swoope said a critical success factor is promoting a public-private partnership among government leaders, business executives and economic developers in the region. "Franklin County by itself is only 8,000 people, but you start pulling in the other counties, you have a population closer to 250,000 people and you have the resources of that region to market to prospective employers." More here.

No comments: