Strategic plan ideas to be focus of upcoming meetings

Published 6:45 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Products of last month’s Strategic Plan meeting will be discussed further and built upon in upcoming meetings.

The next Strategic Plan meeting tentatively will take place sometime in April, possibly at the Pearl River Community College. If the college is unable to accommodate the meeting, it will be held somewhere else in Poplarville. Venues will swap between Picayune and Poplarville to better cater to the entire population of the county.

A number of ideas were presented at the Partners for Pearl River County Strategic Plan meeting, held on Jan. 31. The substance of those ideas will be fine tuned in upcoming meetings. At the next meeting, committees will be formed to ensure some of those ideas come to fruition.

Those committees will try to focus on ideas that are more easily accomplished, said Ron Fine, director of Partners for Pearl River County. Focusing on the ideas will help more of them come to fruition.

“Some of it is low hanging fruit, you know, you can get to it right away,” Fine said.

One of the ideas presented at the first Strategic Plan meeting, held in 2000, involved implementation of county-wide building codes. However, the members of the Board of Supervisors at the time did not implement codes in that year, saying they did not believe the county was ready for them.

State legislation later provided funding for the implementation of building codes after Hurricane Katrina passed through the county. Those codes have since undergone many changes.

Typically the meetings invite past attendees and place an announcement in the paper. Invitations will be sent out to those who provided contact information at previous meetings. Prospective attendees are asked to RSVP so the organization can prepare for food and space needs.

Fine said last month’s meeting was one of the most enthusiastic and best attended he has seen.

Some ideas shared at the meeting included enforcement of truancy laws, teen pregnancy education programs, preparing high school students for the work force, support for the performing arts, restoration of the mural at the Picayune Post Office, faith-based organization communication, master plan to eliminate random development, promotion of senior citizen involvement, widening U.S. 11, provision of 24-hour assisted living facilities, construction of a youth and elderly recreation center, development of the technology park, alignment of high schools and colleges with high tech and technical jobs, include fiber optics in industrial and technology park plans, begin and strengthen waste recycling initiative and promote shopping in Pearl River County.

The next meeting will build on those and the other ideas presented during last month’s meeting while forming new ones.

Last month’s meeting was not the first since Hurricane Katrina. A meeting was held after the storm on Jan. 26, 2006, at the request of former District V Supervisor Bettye Stockstill, Fine said. The focus of that meeting was to control the litter problem in the county.