Partnership property 3/8/13

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 8, 2013

Partnership asks city for piece of prime property

By Rupert Howell

City leaders heard a plea from Panola Partnership board member and local businessman William Pride for the city to donate a parcel of property near Wal-Mart and Batesville Civic Center for a new building to house the partnership.

Speaking during Tuesday’s regular board meeting, Pride asked that the city commit to donating the property so the Partnership can move ahead with plans.

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City fathers cited the need for the Partnership to first provide plans before they make a commitment.
“I’ll agree y’all need to move,” Alderman Stan Harrison voiced aloud during Pride’s presentation.

Panola Partnership serves as the city and county’s economic development arm as well as Chamber of Commerce. The organization also operates the Batesville Mainstreet Program which focuses on promoting and maintaining existing areas and structures that make small towns unique.

The Partnership is funded through city and county government dues. Panola Partnership is also authorized to contribute to capital improvement projects for economic development through funds derived from a former agreement and court settlement with the local power producing facility.

Pride cited the need for more exposure with one of the reasons for needing the new location.

“If we could get a nice facility out there, it would reflect more favorably on the community when we try to attract industry,” Pride told the board.

Pride, who begins serving Panola Partnership as its president today, was accompanied by that organization’s current president Roy Girner and its executive director Sonny Simmons.

Asking for a “yes” or “no,” Pride requested, “I wish y’all would look at this deep and hard,” but was only promised by the board to take it under consideration.

Alderman Eddie Nabors mentioned the dual role of the Partnership was to attract retail as well as industry and concerns were expressed about the Mainstreet program’s continuation if offices were moved east of the highway I-55.

Pride also revealed the Partnership is working on a five-county region to take advantage of the region’s available workforce and assets when recruiting industry and facilities to the area.