May 5, 2010 10:51:00 AM
If there is any place in the South that is ready for new business when the recession eases up, northeast Mississippi is the place, Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed told local business leaders Tuesday.
"If I was a business owner with plans to open a place of business in the South, I would put it in northeast Mississippi," he said during Tuesday''s meeting of the Columbus Rotary Club, which met at the Columbus Country Club.
Reed, who has been in the mayor''s office since July, 2009, said the Toyota plant in Blue Springs, near Tupelo, should be ready to start production in the coming months.
"I am looking for this plant to amp up sometime this summer. They have the new building in place with 83 workers. Many of them were former furniture plant workers who were retrained from building furniture to making cars," he said.
Reed, whose family owns Reed''s of Tupelo and Columbus, spoke about how it is good for cities like Tupelo and Columbus to be in competition for business opportunities.
"In Tupelo, we have a good manufacturing base, which I feel helped the area land the Toyota plant. I am a regionalist, and I think it helps Tupelo to see Columbus is strong and vital. It helps us for Columbus to do well because it makes this area more attractive when it comes to landing new business and industry," he said.
Reed said among the things he is proud of in Tupelo is a good work force and the North Mississippi Medical Center.
"Our workforce is something to be proud of. That is a good characteristic of a community. Our medical center has received awards for their work," Reed said.
He also applauded the work of the Community Development Foundation, which is the economic development arm for Tupelo, as well as its chamber of commerce.
"This is a lot like Link is in Columbus, and we also pride ourselves on our school system. We have a solid public school system in Tupelo," Reed said.