By MICHAEL SIMMONS, Madison County Journal

To bring a lot of “movers and shakers” out into rural Madison County and showcase specific needs, ranging from economic development to housing, was the aim of tour last week.

Over 30 people representing various governmental agencies, businesses and community groups spent last Friday traveling throughout Northeast Madison County on an educational tour of the area.

Representatives from U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker’s office, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson’s office, USDA Rural Development, Nissan, the Madison County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA), Mississippi Home Corporation, Madison County Citizens Services Agency, and Mississippi Development Authority were just some of the people who participated in the trip. Mississippi Central Public Service Commissioner Cecil Brown and his staff members also participated.

District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin coordinated the tour with the North Madison County Economic Development Council (NMED), a nonprofit formed in 2016.

Griffin said the purpose of the tour was to bring a lot of “movers and shakers” out into the county and showcase specific needs to the area, ranging from economic development to housing.

“People live up there and they’re happy up there,” he said. “They just need a little help from the business side and the government side to bring necessary things to the area.”

Griffin said right now residents have to travel 20 miles for basic things such as milk and toilet paper. He said the area is ripe for residential development and new homes are in demand.

“We’re not asking for a handout, we’re asking people to help us,” he said. “Don’t fight against us. If you have ideas, we’re open to those ideas.”

Among the stops on the tour included the unfinished Sulphur Springs Park, the Madison County Amusement Park which hosts harness racing, and a racetrack which brings in thousands of visitors from across the south during season.

Dr. Pollia Griffin, Madison County Schools board member and chair of NMED, said the northeast part of the county was a “diamond in the rough” and the “best kept secret in Madison County.”

“We’re hungry and our doors are open,” she said.

MCEDA Executive Director Joey Deason said he enjoyed the trip and it opened his eyes to possible economic development in the future.

“There are some rural assets up there I think have some value,” he said. “We need to explore those opportunities. Between the community and MCEDA, we can work together to make some opportunity in that area.”


SOURCE: Madison County Journal

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