New Industry

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New industry is bright spot for us

Today’s news that Toyoda Gosei is coming to Batesville is especially refreshing in the midst of the national media broadcasting gloom and doom with national and international markets and dire economic forecasts.

Construction at the General Electric site on Highway 6 east of Batesville and today’s announcement of a heavy weight Toyota supplier coming to Batesville seem to contradict those reports of a tanking economy.

Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons predicts that along with a Tier I automotive supplier such as Toyoda Gosei, Tier II and III suppliers are not far behind. He explained that the smaller suppliers often trust that larger suppliers have done their “homework” or due diligence on a community before locating there, and follow.

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Also adding a name like GE to our inventory of industries may draw attention to companies who might have previously passed us by.

Today, along with Simmons, seven representatives of local government and business are on their way to Washington to visit with our U.S. congressional delegation and their staffs with proposals in hand for assistance to expand potential industrial locations and upgrade infrastructure.

Not since the early ‘80s has such an enthusiastic group been assembled in the name of local economic expansion. The results of the last surge included landing Batesville Casket, Crown Cork & Seal, MOOG, and Insituform. Our economy has continued to grow with the service industries providing needs and services for these and other existing industries. And our geographical location has benefitted development and growth even when our development plans had served their usefulness while gathering dust on an obscure shelf

Those going to Washington today with new plans and new energy are aware that infrastructure needs aren’t limited to roads, bridges, and utilities, but also include a trainable workforce and an obligation to education and improving the general quality of life. They see the big picture.

Among those traveling to Washington with Simmons are: TVEPA manager Brad Robison, supervisors Gary Thompson and Kelly Morris, Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey and City Engineers Blake Mendropp and Chad Wages.

Tonight they’re hosting a reception for the Mississippi Congressional delegation and their staffs and tomorrow they will meet with individual members and their staffs.

Their proposal includes expanding industrial sites in both Como and near the Panola County Airport on Highway 35 North and providing infrastructure east of Interstate 55 on Highway 6 where industrial, commercial and residential expansion continues to increase.

Our local economic future is already looking brighter.