Economic development official believes Vicksburg, Warren County have all the intangibles for development

Published 11:30 pm Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ed Gardner knows what he is talking about, and we hope local government and economic leaders are listening.

Gardner, who is Entergy’s director of business and economic development, addressed members and guests of the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon Wednesday.

During his presentation, Gardner explained how communities are weighed against one another when competing for economic development projects. And, in no uncertain terms, he said Vicksburg is positioned perfectly.

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He said the assets at the disposal of our economic officials  — the river, the East-West railroad, the interstate and more — puts Vicksburg and Warren County ahead of most areas in Mississippi and elsewhere. 

And, he also said the recent hiring of Pablo Diaz, as the area’s lead economic developer, and planned consolidation of the chamber, the Port Commission and the Economic Development Foundation, are tremendous advancements in the area’s economic development portfolio.

For full disclosure, Gardner was part of the search committee organized by the Port Commission in their search to hire a lead economic developer. Again, Gardner knows what he is talking about, and we should listen.

He also stressed the importance of economic and government leaders to continue to focus on quality of life areas to further improve the area’s chances in landing economic development projects, and to look at areas of our community that need to be strengthened.

Gardner is correct when he said our area has plenty of which to be proud, and plenty that would be attractive to businesses looking to locate in Vicksburg and Warren County.

At our disposal, we have a rich history, an education system that is growing, a workforce ready to support a new industry and more.

But, we must always seek to improve things.

We must continue to focus on crime, our infrastructure and investments in quality of life areas, such as parks, walking paths and elements focused on the family.

Vicksburg and Warren County have the assets in place to do great things, and now, it appears we have the people to make that potential reality.