By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero spoke to local Rotarians about economic development and the progress that the City has made in the last four years.
“Economic development is the object of continued focus,” said Pinero.
Pinero cited hospitals, roads and education as the top criteria for relocating industrial companies. He told Rotarians that the new Highland Community Hospital is a big draw for potential industrial relocators. He stated 70 miles of road has been paved in our city and now the last item being addressed is education.
“Now we have to focus on ways to strengthen our school system by helping promote a positive perception. It is important that we support educational improvement,” he said.
While education improvements are being addressed to enhance the county’s appeal to relocating industry, personnel on the county level are currently identifying properties that would be ideal for small to mid-size companies.
Pinero said, “The Board of Supervisors role has changed over the years. In the past, their primary focus has been roads and grass. Now they focus on economic development and are each actively pursuing industry to bring jobs to our county and city.”
He also expressed the City’s support for newly relocated Alliance to obtain their requested rail spur at their Picayune Sand Drying Facility. The facility offers many jobs to people living in Pearl River County and covers approximately 30 acres between the southern city limits and Holcomb’s Railway Crossing near Nicholson, on the western side of the Norfolk-Southern railway.
As reported in the October 26, 2012 Picayune Item article written by David Farrell, the issue of acquisition of a right-of-way over land owned by FEMA has caused a delay in the opening of the $30 million sand drying production plant.
“Alliance made their decision to come to our county based on sound decisions, not tax or ad valorum breaks. We are behind Alliance and will support them in any way we can, to get the rail spur they need, so they can put our people back to work,” he said.
Pinero could not discuss rumors of a major car manufacturer relocating to the county, but did reaffirm his belief that a one cent countywide sales tax would be a positive move.
After Pinero spoke, Rotarian Blake Travis, said, “I’m pleased to know that the city is prioritizing economic development in order to draw not only more residents but more businesses to support our local economy.”