Economic development needs continued effort, careful planning

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 4, 2014

By Leavern Guy

Guest Columnist 

Over the years the past and present administrations of Picayune have planted economic seeds by investing in the economic development infrastructure through purchasing strategically located land, hiring knowledgeable firms and professional personnel. Boards were created that came from the business/educational community and citizens from a cross section of the community: ie. women, minorities, etc. These groups were given an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas. Economic development takes a joint effort, and that will be the topic for another day.

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However, today let’s look at a few of the economic investments of the past and why we should continue some type of economic investment. You be the judge of its impact.

1 Tax increment financing investment to develop the infrastructure for the Wal-Mart project was highly criticized by some. However, look at the results of all the other spin off developments that have built in that area and will continue to build there in the future.

2. Picayune’s Industrial park started out as just vacant land. Then a previous administration saw the need of continuity for economic development and continued by investing in the infrastructure there, including drainage lines, water lines, roads, etc. even before industries were there. As of 2009, 75 percent of the park was occupied.

3. Friendship Park was expanded after a local businessman donated additional land and then challenged the city to build a premier park. This challenge was met by previous administrations and is still being met today.

4. The new airport was a highly criticized project because a lot of citizens could see this project only as being place for storing rich boys toys (airplanes). However, due to its strategic location there was a bigger vision. It was to attract businesses from the aviation community to locate on higher ground and to develop a hi-tech park.

Obviously there are other projects, however this venue will not be for such a lengthy column. As you can see, there is a need for the continuity of economic development and new progressive thinking.

Continue reading and think on this interesting information

Obtain and read the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Bulletin NO.13-01 page 122. There is a very interesting entry under the Mississippi tab code 406. It shows New Orleans-Metairie-Hammond, LA-MS(part), then go back to page 106 and look under code 406 under the combined statistical area. What you will see is Picayune MS is included in New Orleans Combined Metropolitan Statistical Area. So what?

Well, most major corporations utilize this statistical data in planning their future strategies. So, by Picayune being part of the New Orleans Combined Metropolitan StatisticalArea it obviously makes Picayune a little more visible. I’m just saying.

(Leavern is a former City Councilman and Picayune businessman.)