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Grant would fund industrial site study

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Aug. 29, 2003
Lauderdale County supervisors plan to apply for a federal grant to do an environmental study of a possible industrial site at Kewanee, a community near the Alabama state line.
Supervisor Craig Hitt, president of the board of supervisors, said the board is expected to approve an application for a grant of more than $447,000 during its regular business meeting Tuesday.
He said the study will be done at a Kewanee site for potential industrial prospects that may be attracted through joint economic development efforts between Mississippi and Alabama.
Hyundai, the South Korean automaker, had considered a site last year in Lauderdale County near Kewanee for an auto plant. But when state officials pushed another site in Pelahatchie, Hyundai chose Alabama.
Mississippi already is home to one auto plant, Nissan Motor Co. in Canton.
Nissan opened its $1.4 billion new plant in May. The plant currently has 1,950 employees; in mid-2004, when full production is reached, the plant is expected to employ 5,300 people.
Wade Jones, president of the East Mississippi Business Development Corp. Lauderdale County's chief economic development agency said the Kewanee site could possibly attract another auto plant to Mississippi.
Still in its developmental stages, an agreement was made in June between Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley to establish an interstate agreement for creating jobs along the Alabama-Mississippi state line.
Letters of intent signed by Musgrove and Riley call for an alliance to be crafted between the Alabama Development Office and the Mississippi Development Authority.
The agencies also are charged with establishing one or more regional economic districts.
When the agreement was announced in June, both Musgrove and EMBDC Chairman Tommy Dulaney hinted that several industrial prospects were already considering the region for possible sites.
Riley is planning to head an Alabama delegation to Southeast U.S./Japan and Southeast U.S./Korea conferences this fall in Osaka, Japan and Seoul, South Korea.