COLUMBUS and WEST POINT — The Columbus Lowndes Development LINK (LINK) board of directors has voted to establish a formal affiliation between the LINK and the West Point Clay County Community Growth Alliance (Growth Alliance).
“We are very excited to team with the West Point and Clay County community,” stated LINK board president Jim McAlexander. “It is a natural fit since our economies are intertwined.”
The process began after the Growth Alliance’s executive director announced his resignation in late September. The organization’s executive board began meeting weekly for research and discussion on what direction to take. They invited representatives of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Mississippi Development Authority, LINK, North Mississippi Industrial Development Authority and others to meet with them and voice ideas.
“The LINK has had the kind of success that we want our county to experience,” said Jackie Edwards, president of the Growth Alliance board. “We decided that with their proven track record and the similarities between our two communities, we should make a proposal to join forces instead of searching for a new executive director.”
“Clay County has some of the best infrastructure in the entire Tennessee Valley,” said Joe Max Higgins, executive director of the LINK. “The types of companies that will be interested in Clay County will be energy and capital intensive, offering the kinds of jobs that are highly technical and well-paying.”
The agreement will be in effect for a minimum of three years, with West Point and Clay County bringing one-quarter of the new alliance’s funding to the table. The Growth Alliance will continue to serve as the chamber of commerce for West Point and Clay County.
The plan is for the LINK to hire an individual who will be assigned to West Point. This person will be expected to have economic development experience. If he or she is not certified in economic development, that requirement is expected to be met within two years of taking the position.