It’s a very serious game, it’s played every single day by Clarksdale and Coahoma County and the rewards for victory are high and the price of failure is costly.
I have covered economic development since I reported on a new industrial park in Starkville more than 30 years ago. I’ve seen factories come to town ranging from Caterpillar and Tyson Foods, to mega-warehouses for Target that covered mega-acres.
But I have never lived in a community that had four industrial announcements in the space of 18 months.
Clarksdale’s future looks bright.
You know him better than I do. Jimmy Walker, Sr. strolled into the Pinnacle Tuesday morning and after shaking hands at the door, walked right over to where I was and extended his hand.
It humbled me.
I’m in Rotary with Mr. Jimmy, we’ve talked highways and politics and problems far and wide. But I’ve only been here a couple of months.
Clarksdale is fortunate to still have men -- true Southern gentlemen -- who start with just an idea and build something their family and community can be very proud of.
241 plus you
There were 242 people at the Saf-T-cart announcement Tuesday. The Tyson Food ribbon cutting in Vicksburg years ago did not see that kind of turnout.
Now, we pay Jon Levingston to worry over the details of industrial announcements, but with less than two-dozen people in the cavernous Pinnacle at 10:15 a.m., he was sweating bullets.
Thank you Clarksdale for this incredible show of support, but next time please come early.
I teased Levingston and pointed out he’s hosting a major economic development event about every two months.
That means he should have another one ready by the Holidays.
Look in your magazine
Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Glenn McCullough held up a trade magazine Tuesday and proudly pointed to a story about Saf-T-Cart.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him we did a story on Saf-T-Cart just two weeks ago in Coahoma Living Magazine.
But Mr. McCullough was correct, the message about the things we are doing right in Clarksdale reaches far beyond the Delta and the borders of this state.
Economic development is a tough business. Every community in this country is looking to land the next factory and the jobs it brings to town.
Every local speaker at Tuesday’s announcement talked about how this community pulls together to make these announcements happen.
The state and regional economic development guys talked about how Clarksdale is turning heads across this state as people look to see what we have going on.
I don’t claim to know a lot about the inner workings of economic development deals and the financing and legal lingo needed to turn an idea into reality.
I do know you can get a lot done when no one worries about who gets the credit.
I do know you can get a lot done when you first do your part and then ask for help.
I also know it takes people with a vision for a better future to bring industry, jobs and paychecks to town.
There is a sense of hope in Clarksdale. As with any community we have our problems, but I’m proud of Clarksdale and the direction we are headed. I’m proud of the the way we are working together to make good things happen.
Floyd Ingram is proud to be the Editor of your Clarksdale Press Register. He can be reached at 662-627-2201.