- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

MAYHEW, Miss. (AP) - The results of a comprehensive strategic economic and community development study of the Golden Triangle will be made available to the public Tuesday.

The Commercial Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1mOzMie ) William Fruth, president of independent economic research firm POLICOM, presented the report to county and municipal government leaders Monday. He’ll hold a public session at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Lyceum building on the Mayhew campus of East Mississippi Community College.

The Golden Triangle area encompasses Columbus, Starkville and West Point.

Golden Triangle Development LINK Joe Max Higgins said Fruth evaluated educational and industrial activity in Lowndes, Clay and Oktibbeha counties.

Higgins said Fruth’s report will provide a road map for how each county and the region as a whole can work together for economic development and opportunity for growth.

“There are probably going to be four or five things that if we do, we’re going to significantly change ourselves,” Higgins said. “There’s some poverty in these counties and unemployable people in the county because they don’t have skill sets. That’s about the worst thing you can say about us, but what he says is, if you can get a handle on this and put some of these things in place to improve it, he has every belief that the region can be among the highest performing micropolitans in the country.”

Half of Fruth’s $50,000 study was underwritten by C-Spire, which inked a deal last October to locate a $20 million data center in the Thad Cochran Research Technology and Economic Development Park at Mississippi State University. Higgins said the remainder was funded by the LINK Trust and a small portion of the LINK’s general operational budget.

Higgins said two of Fruth’s recommendations involve expansion of the research park at MSU and a new Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence at EMCC for industrial training, the latter of which would require the combined efforts and support of the LINK’s municipalities and counties.

“We’re going to have to figure out what that next generation training facility looks like, and that’s something we would have to tackle on a regional basis,” Higgins said.

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Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, http://www.cdispatch.com