Panola Partnership aid

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Combined support aids Partnership

They turned out last Thursday night. Panola’s supervisors, road manager and mayors and aldermen representing nearly every municipality joined Panola Partnership officials to hear a Tennessee Valley Authority community development specialist.

What they heard was a mixture of old and new information, plus common sense, in a streamlined, quantifiable presentation. They already knew, for instance, that highway accessibility is an important factor for most industries and businesses seeking a site.

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What they learned from TVA community development specialist Deborah Cameron was that highway accessibility was singled out in an area development survey in 2006 as the second most important factor in selecting a site. Only labor costs were considered more important, according to the survey, and the availability of skilled labor ranked eighth on the survey’s top ten.

Our community leadership also already knew the close cooperation required among elected and appointed officials in dealing with representatives of business and industry who seek to relocate. They demonstrated that with their attendance Thursday night and then heard it distilled and emphasized.

Panola’s leadership is learning from its northeast Mississippi neighbors whose multi-county cooperation helped prove to Toyota that theirs was the right choice for its new U.S. manufacturing site. Our community leaders are also demonstrating a growing regard for and understanding of the Panola Partnership’s role in tying all of this together. The are the entity whose goal it is to get us all on the same page and to make the page attractive to visitors — industrial and business prospects, tourists, retirees — all of the above.

When the community’s elected, appointed and volunteer leaders support the Partnership’s initiatives, its unique position as the county’s chamber of commerce grows stronger as our representative in the world’s market.