EMBDC Hosts Annual Meeting

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Meridian, Miss. Economic development officials say they believe this area is beginning to pull out of the recession.

The topic of conversation at the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation's annual meeting was its plans for the future.

Officials say a recent success in starting a pipeline to the industrial parks helped put Meridian in prime position for success.

But there were some negatives that were discussed as well, mainly former tenant Handy Hardware going bankrupt. But leaders said that even the old Handy Hardware building is a selling point to prospective businesses.

"We also talked about the disappointment, particularly Handy Hardware," said EMBDC board chairman Bob Luke. "It's a tragic situation but we don't control that. The good news is we have an amazing building out there with great potential to fill with a new partner in our community. We are in great shape. We have an economic development opportunity in that park and it's prime for us to make something happen"

The EMBDC says prospective businesses are contacting the organization for information on the three 'shovel ready' locations meridian has to offer.

EMBDC president, Wade Jones, says the group has already received more requests for information this year than they did in all of 2012.

"To date, in this fiscal year, we have 29 requests for information that we've completed and returned to companies through the Mississippi Development Authority," said Jones. "Compared to the previous year of 28, that's a good number; that's a high number"

Economics has its ups and downs, but thanks to many strategic moves, officials say Meridian is sitting in great position for success and it's only a matter of time before that success will show.

The EMBDC was founded in 1996 and currently has about 1400 dues-paying members. It is governed by a 16-member board.