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Vision Partnership ready to start work

With money on hand and pledges to be received,Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce officials said todaythe Vision Partnership campaign is moving forward toward itseconomic development goals.

Since the 1998-99 fund-raising campaign, Vision CouncilCo-chairman Owen Carty said, the council has over $900,000 in moneyin the bank or in pledges to proceed with the five-year plan.

“We’re in a position to go about doing the work identified inthe plan,” Carty told guests at this morning’s quarterly membershipmeeting.

The campaign has already produced some good results.

Carty said $17,500 in seed money given to the chamber’scommunity appearance community has helped produced over $115,000 ingrants and other funds for the Streetscape program. The programinvolves landscaping and beautification efforts along the corridorfrom Brookway Boulevard and Interstate 55 to the intersection ofMonticello Street and Hamilton Street.

New industrial land is a primary goal of the economicdevelopment plan.

“If you don’t have land available when industry comes, you’re astep behind your competitors,” Carty said.

Carty said Vision Council officials are in the process ofidentifying several areas in Lincoln County as possible newindustrial sites. Once identified, the Stennis Space Center’ssatellite imaging services will be used to help identify needsregarding water, sewer and other services.

“It helps us establish options as far as what we need to do,”Carty said.

A targeted marketing analysis is another aspect. The marketinganalysis will identify the area’s human and physical resources anduse them to find growth-mode industries that have “common goals”and might be interested in locating in Brookhaven.

The economic develop plan will also utilize creation of a newweb site and marketing materials. It will target industrial sitedevelopers who scout possible new locations for business andindustry, Carty said.

“The fruits of what we do today will really be seen five to 10to 20 years from now,” Carty said, mentioning continued economicprosperity and jobs for future generations.

Chandler Russ, the chamber’s new executive vice-president, spokeabout his ideas for economic development. He said the chamberalready has good solid programs in place.

To enhance efforts, Russ discussed ideas for a new approach tomanufacturing plants and service-related jobs, development of astrong program to encourage expansion of existing industry, aservice to help new companies get established, identification anddevelopment of entrepreneurs and a continuing effort to identifyand eliminate area liabilities.

Russ touted the chamber’s various committees and volunteers thatstrive to promote Brookhaven and its activities. Russ said thechamber’s goal is to be the voice of Brookhaven and Lincoln Countyto the rest of the world.

“We intend to deliver that message very strongly,” Russsaid.