Entergy’s Gardner ‘excited’ about where Vicksburg’s industry is heading
Published 9:09 am Thursday, October 28, 2021
Seven years ago, Vicksburg missed out on an opportunity that would have brought more industry to the county.
The property, though attractive, was not developed and the risk of investing was too great.
“If a company comes and you haven’t done all the due diligence and haven’t gotten all of your ducks in a row so to speak, they aren’t coming, because there will be somebody else that has already done that work,” Director of Business and Economic Development for Entergy Miss, Inc. Ed Gardner said.
On Wednesday, during the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Gardner shared with members the potential return-on-investment Vicksburg will make with its natural and developing assets.
“I really think in four or five years when you get the port developed, you are going to be blown away with what you see happening here. You’re regularly going to have billion-dollar projects looking at Vicksburg,” Gardner said.
While the port expansion will be key in attracting new industry, Gardner highlighted additional positive features Vicksburg can offer new businesses.
“Vicksburg has a Class 1 railroad. You have ERDC, I-20, a major bridge, the new MCITy development, Hinds Community College, Alcorn and incredible electricity,” he said. “Y’all have nine transmission lines coming into this site — nine — that is great. Those are unique opportunities and I guarantee companies that need a lot of power know what that means and it’s tremendous what you have here.”
Gardner said Vicksburg also does a good job of leveraging its grant dollars and has one of the highest labor participation rates in the state.
“That’s a huge selling point,” he said.
Gardner praised Vicksburg for working with partners like ERDC, downtown and the investment into Ceres Industrial Park.
“I think something is going to happen here because it is too good of a site,” he said.
Gardner said Vicksburg is also good about communicating with its existing companies. This is important when an industry is shopping around for sites, he said, because they want to make sure support will continue.
“Of all the things I have mentioned, there are only a handful of these sites in the country,” Garner said. “You’re going to start being on every list that needs a river, class 1 rail, huge power deeds — those projects are usually in the billions. Those projects also usually pay extremely well because you don’t build a billion-dollar plant and pay somebody $20 an hour to maintain that plant. You are going to pay somebody $60 or $80 dollars an hour to maintain the plant,” he said.
The progress and efforts being made in Vicksburg to attract more businesses are not going unnoticed, Gardner said.
“I’m getting questions about Madison County and Warren County,” he said. “Questions are being asked, ‘Why are they doing so well and what are they doing?’
“I remember when I came here a little over six years ago,” Gardner said. “You really didn’t have anything done on that site (the port) and look how far it has come. I’m excited where Vicksburg and Warren County is heading.”