EDITORIAL: Waiting Our Turn



News that Clay County and West Point are poised to land a massive automobile tire factory is good news.

A special session last week brought details of the deal to the public and apparently local, state and even national leaders have been working on this project for some time. The Yokohama Tire Company is expected to employ up to 500 by 2015 and could provide up to 2,000 jobs at full capacity. The state is putting up $130 million in incentives and company officials have said jobs at the West Point plant will pay about $35,000 a year.

We are glad to see them land just 30 miles from the Chickasaw County line. We have a good labor force in Chickasaw County and there is no doubt many local workers will be hired and then make the daily drive to West Point. They will bring their paychecks home to spend in local businesses.

Certainly this newspaper would have loved to see this plant locate in Chickasaw County. But we will have to wait our turn.

A wise local economic developer once said attracting factories and jobs to a region is a team sport. His point was, in this global market, it takes a lot of help from a lot of different places to make a company pick your site. We hope someone in this community was influential in helping Yokohama come to Clay County.

Yes, we would like to point to the Okolona Mega Site as the perfect spot for the next major employer in Northeast Mississippi.

The Okolona Mega Site has access to both rail and four-lane highways. It is not far from major electricity transmission lines. It looks like West Point’s site had the edge in water and sewer and this was a tipping point for an industry that uses a lot of both.

Again, with proper development and proper marketing, our time will come. Chickasaw County probably missed being a better spot for the Yokohama deal by about a year.

The hiring of a three-county regional economic developer last fall, funded by city and county governments in Chickasaw, Union and Pontotoc counties seems like a better decision now that Yokohama has made their intentions known.

As Toyota in Blue Springs and Nissan near Jackson continue to attract suppliers to Mississippi, we need to be ready to move as a team when our time comes.