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franklin county times

Pickering calls for more unity
between public, private sectors

By Staff
ECONOMIC IMPACT U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., speaks Monday at a meeting of the Lauderdale County Council of Governments at Rush Foundation Hospital. Listening to Pickering are, from left, Kathy Baxter, Hargie Crenshaw and Lauderdale County District 2 Supervisor Jimmie Smith. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 8, 2004
U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., said Monday that, if Lauderdale County wants to bring economic development to the region, it needs to be more unified.
Pickering's remarks came during a meeting of the Lauderdale County Council of Governments at Rush Foundation Hospital.
But, he said, he doesn't sense the same degree of unity, planning, communication and coordination he once did here.
He said he wanted to be sure "everyone is on the same page" the Congressional delegation, his office, state officials, local governmental entities and the private sector.
Pickering praised the cooperative efforts that are resulting in the restoration of the Grand Opera House, and other downtown buildings, that will become part of the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center.
He said he sees promise in the development of the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center to be built in Meridian, and he said there has been tremendous progress in modernizing Naval Air Station Meridian.
Pickering said wants to see Highway 80 designated as an interstate to help attract automotive and defense contractors to the region. He cited the Interstate 20/59 industrial park and a possible industrial site at Kewanee as prospects for new industry that would benefit from Highway 80 becoming an interstate.
Pickering said Rankin County, DeSoto County, Madison County and the coastal counties are good examples of regional cooperation where cities and counties set priorities together and work toward the same goals.
Pickering suggested a regional foundation be formed to develop a regional strategic plan and raise money to address economic and work force development needs.

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