Industrial park gets $1.5 million boost
INDUSTRIAL PARK Tommy Dulaney, chairman of the EMBDC's board of directors, left, thanks Dr. David Sampson, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, for delivering a check to help develop a new industrial park. PHOTO BY CARISA MCCAIN / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Oct. 15, 2002
Calling Lauderdale County's newest industrial park "an important economic driver" for the entire state, a federal official Monday delivered a $1.5 million boost to the facility's development.
Dr. David A. Sampson, assistant secretary of Commerce for economic development, said the funding would help finance water and sewer infrastructure at the 600-acre Interstate 20/59 Industrial Park.
Sampson made the formal presentation to about 600 people gathered at the East Mississippi Business Development Corp.'s annual meeting.
The money proceeds from an Economic Development Administration grant that had already been approved will be put to work quickly, said EMBDC chairman Tommy Dulaney. Water and sewer service could be in place in about 18 months, making the industrial park much more attractive for economic development prospects, including automotive suppliers.
Hitt said infrastructure has been a top priority for the board of supervisors.
The EDA grant will be matched by about $1.6 million in water and sewer funding from the city of Meridian. Lauderdale County funds were used to acquire the site in 2000 and a $250,000 state grant has also been awarded to the town of Marion for temporary water service to the industrial park.
With the funding in place, economic development officials say they can begin marketing the site more aggressively to automotive suppliers and other companies.
Sampson said the Bush administration believes such federal funding works best when it's paired with local, state and private investments. The concept is "that all communities share in economic opportunity," he said.
The I 20/59 Industrial Park fits the concept, he said, because he expects it will grow and attract private capital that, in turn, can help sustain economic growth in the years ahead.
Sampson encouraged local officials and residents to "think regionally to compete globally. Industry no longer cares about artificial political borders, unless they are barriers."
While in Meridian for the day, Sampson also toured the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center and renovation of the Grand Opera House, the G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Industrial Park and Peavey Electronics.