Formula for Growth
Picture a high hill and a child rushing down it on a bike, squealing with delight as the bike picks up speed and hurtles along flat ground.
In some ways that child is a lot like Panola County.
In the late 1980s Panola County proved its “pedal power” by landing two large industries, Batesville Casket Co. and Crown Cork and Seal, companies that have expanded and are still in operation today. The county’s leadership seemed to be on a roll, also luring the LS Power plant and others during the 1990s.
But Batesville and Panola County have been celebrating those successes for so long that we may be in danger of losing what brought us this far.
Panola County is again poised to enjoy a bump in its industrial jobs, this time with last summer’s announcement by GE Aviation and by luring Toyota suppliers to Batesville and distribution companies to the Como area. Panola County’s supervisors heard this week that more than $5 million might be needed to build a new industrial park in Batesville to welcome the suppliers. In Como, industrial property is needed near Interstate 55 in order to lure employers that are poised to migrate south beyond DeSoto County. That project could cost most than $7 million.
But that industrial growth won’t occur by chance or luck – never has, never will.
First, Panola County’s leaders must not allow themselves to be lulled into a coast-along attitude. Anyone who’s ridden a bike knows what happens when the pedals aren’t moving after the coasting has slowed to a crawl.
When our leaders then commit to pedal power, they must then decide how hard to pedal.
We hope they pedal hard, keep their eyes on the goal, and never look back.