December 7, 2012 10:13:13 AM
At its Thursday afternoon meeting, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership reviewed some basics about the newly formed Golden Triangle Regional Development Link.
Oktibbeha County, Starkville, the GSDP and the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Partnership finalized an agreement with the GTRD Link on Halloween, signing a three-year interim contract for the organization to take over economic development responsibilities in the county.
Oktibbeha joined Clay County and Lowndes County as the third member of the regional partnership, an expansion of the former Columbus-Lowndes Development Link.
In late November, GSDP President Steve Langston, Zelma Talley, Michelle Amos and Mark Abernathy were chosen by Oktibbeha officials to represent the county on the Link's board. Amos and Langston were then chosen for the Link's Board of Directors by the organization's executive board.
"It's an entirely new game from anything we are used to playing," Langston admitted. "But the potential of our three communities is unmatched."
Langston pointed out the proximity of the three counties in comparison to the next largest city, and said the differences and similarities could be very appealing to major companies.
"Something that fits one city won't fit another, but that is what we are looking for," Langston said. "I just don't see how it can't be a positive."
Langston also answered questions about the future of the current organizations in Starkville and Oktibbeha that were previously handling the economic development tasks.
"We don't want to pull any funding or activities from our strong legs we already have," Langston said of the GSDP and OCEDA. "I don't see any change in our partnership, I see us remaining the same, but I do see OCEDA becoming way more active, there is going to be a lot more asked of them."
Jack Wallace, OCEDA president, said the GTRD Link will not disrupt any community development or involvement, and that he agreed with Langston: joining the Link cannot be a bad thing.
"We are simply accessing some already proven organizational methods," Wallace said. "It wasn't intended to replace anything."
Wallace reminded the GSDP that after the three-year interim, a decision will have to be made as to whether or not to construct a new building for the nine-person GTRD Link staff or continue to operate out of the current building in Columbus, where the CLDL has been housed.