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Mississippi County Looking at Ways to Grow Population


The Mississippi County Planning and Development committee met Thursday afternoon and the big topic of discussion brought to the board by Economic Developer Clif Chitwood was a recommendation for a consulting company to provide an economic development tactical plan.

The plan would address two areas of concerns: what is best practice to get population growth and to maximize the number of Mississippi County citizens partcipating in the WORK program.

Chitwood said that a possible option is veteran recruitment.

"Veterans recruitment seems like it would be a natural fit here because a person that can drive a tank, he's going to be right at home in a steel mill," Chitwood explained. "Loud noises aren't going to bother him and neither is big, heavy machinery. He's also going to have technical expertise both tech and mechanical. So that's why we are asking for their help."

Chitwood added the company doing the study would come to the county and talk to businesses, elected officials and himself.

Chitwood also mentioned the reason Jonesboro is ever growing is because they have had studies and plans done in 1996, 2008, 2012 and in 2016.

Chitwood said the study would cost $96,500 and is a one-time fee.

"I don't see how Mississippi County can continue to grow like we are growing now without some outside help," Justice Fred Fleeman said. "I'm not saying anything about [Chitwood] or anything bad about Dr. Shemwell or the college or what we are doing there because I think what we are doing there, I think is a great idea... I think this is a testament to your job. We are out of people. We are out of people."

Fleeman asked if they would have access to the information and Chitwood responded they would for three to five years.

Fleeman made the motion to present it to the full court and Justice Neil Burge seconded the motion.

County Judge John Alan Nelson said, "I think that is certainly a good move. I believe it would also give us a position of status or influence with the Governor's office."