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Lowndes, Clay, Oktibbeha Study Regional ECD Group

Posted by Steve Rogers | July 13, 2012 / 10:42am | Top Story, Local News, Business
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- In light of the recent partnership formed between the Columbus Lowndes Development LINK and the West Point Community Growth Alliance, representatives from all corners of the Golden Triangle are now exploring the possibility of a regional economic development organization.

The Golden Triangle has long been recognized for its advanced economic development accomplishments in North Mississippi. The three communities have partnered on various development opportunities that have been mutually beneficial to all parties for decades.  To formalize the development leadership of Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties into one organization, communities have appointed a steering committee to explore if a regional organization would be beneficial. The committee will submit a proposal for this partnership by Sept. 14, 2012.  

The committee has plenty of models in the area to use as guides, including the Golden Triangle Regional Airport Authority, which has been around more than 40 years and combines the governance of Columbus, Lowndes, Starkville, Oktibbeha and West Point. The PUL Alliance -- Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties -- which put together the Toyota deal also might be considered as well as some economic development partnerships in other states.

"In the past nine years, we've worked regional projects, always looking to develop our area cooperatively," said Jim McAlexander, chairman of the board of the Columbus Lowndes Development LINK. "The partnership being proposed will allow for development efforts to be taken to the next level for the Golden Triangle, and shows a committed effort of teamwork among all three counties."

"We in West Point recognize that a regional development effort produces positive results for all three counties," said Jackie Edwards, president of the West Point Community Growth Alliance. "With our new Megasite and abundant infrastructure, West Point has much to contribute to the regional effort. When one county does well, we all achieve success."

"Each community brings something unique to the partnership," said Steve Langston, chairman of the board of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. "Starkville being home to Mississippi State University brings an abundance of resources required to compete for the next generation of advanced business opportunities."

Members of the steering committee are:
Clay County - Robbie Robinson and Jackie Edwards
Lowndes County - Gordon Flowers and Jim McAlexander
Oktibbeha County - Marvel Howard, Jack Wallace and Parker Wiseman

The steering committee will be charged with exploring the following for the regional partnership:

-- Formation

-- Purpose

-- Governance

-- Administration

-- Funding

-- Duties

-- Implementation
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