Officials hope to land new industry

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 6, 2006

Initial indications are good that a California industry may setup shop in Lawrence County after officials visited the owner lastweek.

Monticello Mayor David Nichols and Lawrence County CommunityDevelopment Association Director Bob Smira traveled to CaliforniaMonday to meet with the company’s owner. They returned Wednesdayafternoon.

“We visited with a company that might be interested in southwestMississippi,” Smira said. “We discussed the incentives andpossibilities with them.”

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The company’s name and product line are being withheld until anofficial decision has been made, Smira said.

Discussions are in the very early stages, Smira said, but appearpromising.

“I think they went well,” he said. “I think the county isimpressed with what Mississippi has to offer, and the additionalincentives of the Gulf Opportunity Zone will surely have a bearingon their decision.”

GO Zone incentives were passed following Hurricane Katrina tohelp industries locate in areas damaged by the storm. Theincentives are significant and can be applied in a variety of waysto help entice industries.

Nichols also said the company seemed interested in theproposal.

“It was a very good trip,” he said. “I think we made someprogress.”

Although he could not discuss many of the details of thediscussions because of an agreement with the company, Smira couldsay much of the discussions centered around the needs of thecompany and how Lawrence County, or another southwest Mississippilocation, could meet them. The number of acres needed, plant size,incentives and funding resources were among the topics discussed,Smira said.

The economic development director said he believes LawrenceCounty could meet many, if not all, of the needs expressed by thecompany owner. However, he emphasized the early nature of thediscussions.

“We’ll continue to keep a dialogue with the company and workhard to recruit them to our area, but it’s far from a sure thing,”Smira said.