Partnership plan good move for economic future

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, December 12, 2010

Patience takes time.

As such, economic development opportunities are not overnighttransactions that produce immediate positive results. Suchopportunities take preparation and patience.

To that end, a united group of area counties is getting ready to bein position to capitalize on economic development opportunitieswhen they present themselves. No one is sure when that will happen,but many are optimistic a capital revenue release will come in thenext 12 to 24 months.

Meeting in Brookhaven Tuesday, members of the Southwest MississippiPartnership got an update on plans to prepare the region foreconomic development opportunities in the future.

The plan targets specific types of business and industry that wouldbe appropriate for the 11-county confederation. Targets forrecruitment include plastic compounding, food processing, metalfabrication and call center industries – all of which would bewell-suited for this area.

In the past, individual members of the Partnership have worked toland businesses and industries for their respective parts of theregion. Those efforts have produced varying degrees of success forthose individual communities.

Regional unity is important.

As many have said previously, the next best thing to one communitylanding a major industry or business is for a neighbor to do. Thereason is that that new industry will in all likelihood draw itsworkforce from not only its home county but also from surroundingones.

Southwest Mississippi already has a number of fine examples of thatfact.

How many workers from surrounding counties travel daily to work atthe Wal-Mart Distribution Center or Delphi here in Lincoln County?And vice versa, how many Lincoln Countians travel to Monticello towork at Georgia-Pacific, to Port Gibson at Grand Gulf, or to McCombor Natchez?

That Partnership leaders have a plan in place to attract newindustries proves that progress is being made on the economicdevelopment front. More progress is difficult to achieve currentlybecause opportunities are slim due to the stagnant economy.

That economy, however, is slowly starting to rebound. Throughunited efforts like the Southwest Partnership, this region ispositioning itself well to be able to capitalize when the economyis full speed ahead once again.