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Supes OK aerospace theme for industrial park


Kristin Mamrack



An effort to build an aerospace industrial park progressed Tuesday with support from the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors. 


The supervisors voted to approve a resolution supporting the promotion and marketing of a new industrial complex west of the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, the Golden Triangle Global Aerospace Industrial Park. 


The resolution pledged cooperation and collaboration between Lowndes County, Noxubee County, Oktibbeha County, Monroe County, Clay County, Pickens County, Ala., Lamar County, Ala., Starkville, Columbus, West Point, Mississippi State University, East Mississippi Community College, Mississippi University for Women, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Mississippi Development Authority, the Airport Authority and the Industrial Development Authority.  


"We passed a resolution saying the aerospace park would benefit all entities and we want to cooperate together in trying to promote it," said Board President and District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders, noting the resolution required no financial obligation. 


Columbus-Lowndes Development Link officials currently are working to secure financing -- by competing for a Rural Development Authority grant and loan totaling about $17 million -- for water and sewer improvements on a 2,500- to 3,000-acre parcel of land, west of the airport. 


Officials hope options and funding are in place by the end of October. 


"Really, what we''re trying to do here is, conceptually, let''s all recognize the area around GTRA is special and you don''t find 3,000 acres around a commercial airport every day," Link CEO Joe Higgins said of the resolution. "We want to get the property under public control (and) develop a marketing plan to promote it. 


"This takes in the majority of the land, which was part of the Crossroads Megasite and adds more to it," he added of the planned industrial park. 


In another matter, the supervisors approved a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in October. 


The approved budget reflects no change in millage from which the county operated in its current budget year. 


The millage for the county was set at 40.01 mills and for the Lowndes County School District at 47.76 mills. 


District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks noted the county''s budget does not allow for employees to receive raises in salary. 


"As with most counties, money''s just tight this year," he said. "I think (employees) deserve (a raise), but it just is a very tight year. It''s just not financially feasible this year."




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