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Chamber set to tout community in Capitol visit

The Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce is preparingfor 2008’s installment of Brookhaven Day at the Capitol, along-running event designed to make the state’s lawmakers aware ofthe needs and concerns of Brookhaven and Lincoln County.

The event will take place on the morning of Jan. 31.

Brookhaven Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield said the motto for this year’slegislative visit will be “150 Years – On Top of Our Game,” aslogan that pays tribute to the city’s 150-year anniversary. Tomake it known that the city is on top of its game, Brumfield saidthe attending chamber members hoped to meet with the area’srepresentatives, the lieutenant governor, the governor and as manylegislators as possible.

While handshakes are exchanged, Brumfield said he and thechamber hope to instill two of the city’s features into the mindsof the lawmakers – the development of the Linbrook Business Parkand the Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA).

“MSA has often been a focal point of our past visits to theCapitol, and it certainly will be again this year,” Brumfield said.”We want to make sure that the school receives continued funding,because it is such a good thing for our area.”

No immediate action is needed for Linbrook Business Park, butBrumfield said he wants legislators to always be aware of itspresence in case action is needed in the future.

“We want to promote the business park so that our senators andrepresentatives will be ready when the time comes, in case wehappen to need legislative action to help us bring a business orindustry into the area,” he said.

Bill Sones, a member of the chamber’s board of directors andchairman of the Industrial Development Foundation, said theLinbrook Business Park would be a key issue as the chamber tries to”sell” Brookhaven to state legislators.

“There’s not a super site of 1,000 acres where a huge industrymight locate anywhere south of Interstate 20,” Sones said. “But wedo have a new 400-acre industrial park that adjoins 16th Sectionland, and we feel like we have ample available industrial propertyto attract top-flight businesses to our area.”

Sones also said Brookhaven was “strategically located” and hadgreat access, a key point that industries examine when deciding tomove to an area. Brookhaven is connected with Interstate 55,Highway 84, and is almost an equal distance away from Interstate 20and Interstate 10.

Selling the city’s industrial capabilities is not the onlymission of the chamber, however.

“We also want to make the legislators aware of our otheraspects,” Sones said. “We have great education, a forward-thinkingretail community, a great medical community, good banks and acooperative local government. How many other communities have acity and county government that work as closely as ours? That’s ahuge blessing that helps us get things done in Brookhaven.”

To make sure the legislators take care of Brookhaven and LincolnCounty, the chamber of commerce plans to take care of thelegislators. As the day begins at 9 a.m., lawmakers will be serveda light, buffet-style breakfast on the bottom floor of the rotunda.The chamber will give away a Nintendo DS, a hand-held gamingsystem, to one senator and one representative from among those whoregister while visiting the chamber’s table between 9 a.m. and 11a.m.

Chamber members are excited about this year’s day at theCapitol, as the event last year was the most successful visit toJackson to date.

“This is going to be a great event, just like it is every year,”Sones said. “It’s our yearly chance to paint the picture of ourcommunity to the state’s lawmakers.”

Sponsors are still needed for the event, and anyone interestedin partnering with the attending chamber members may call thechamber at (601) 833-1411 for information. The convoy to theCapitol will meet at the chamber office at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 31 andgo to Jackson.