STONE COUNTY — The Stone County Economic Development Partnership (SCEDP) has helped Stone County become among the first counties in the state to take part in the Mississippi Development Authority’s (MDA’s) asset mapping project. Asset mapping identifies, categorizes and quantifies a community’s assets.
SCEDP executive director Charlotte Koestler served on a team that conducted asset mapping in Stone County Oct. 19.
“Six teams mapped assets in McHenry, Perkinston and Wiggins,” said Koestler. “The teams took photographs, categorized assets according to type – whether they were tourism, cultural, historical, informational. We wrote descriptions of each asset and described the areas around the assets.”
Besides MDA and SCEDP representatives, the group included representatives of Mississippi Power Co., Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, Main Street and the Mississippi Arts Commission.
The group mapped libraries, the courthouse, Flint Creek, industries, retail areas, educational institutions, medical facilities, the airport, infrastructure, government buildings, and fire and police services.
The information will be used to compile a report that will help the community better understand its needs, identify assets that may be lacking, and how to best use the assets it has. Stone County’s asset mapping gives SCEDP a baseline that can be updated annually.
“While we are focusing on quality of life and community development, what we are undertaking to accomplish will help industrial development,” said Joy Foy, director of MDA’s asset mapping. “People moving into an area to take industrial jobs can live wherever, and our process is designed to help your community capitalize on your local potential to become home to the new CEOs, etc. People want to live in pretty places, and visitors will stay longer and spend more money based on positive curb appeal. New and better jobs will keep our young people interested in coming back home after college. The snowball effect of community redevelopment goes on and on. Mississippi communities have ample assets, and we are having a great time working with the locals to leverage these assets.”