Mississippi’s ownership of the former TVA/NASA reservation at

Mississippi’s ownership of the former TVA/NASA reservation at Yellow Creek in Tishomingo County this week began to take on a human face with qualifications to finally, fully develop the site.

Yellow Creek, a 1,200-acre site formerly owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority and subsequently by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, passed to state ownership earlier this year. The federal government sent along $10 million to help the state make the transition from failed federal projects to successful state-encouraged, private-sector ventures.

The Legislature responding to the opportunities of a prime site for enterprises that need water, rail or four-lane highway transit, abundant land and water, and a setting outside urban areas created the Yellow Creek Regional Project Board. Appointees from Tishomingo, Itawamba, Alcorn and Prentiss counties will comprise the nine-member board. Six appointees have been made this week by Lt. Gov. Musgrove and the Tishomingo and Itawamba County Boards of Supervisors. Additional appointees from the Alcorn and Prentiss County Boards and Gov. Fordice are expected soon to fill the three remaining positions.

The six appointments reflect diverse, long-term experience either in private-sector manufacturing, state-supported economic development ventures or widely respected skills in developing people’s potential. That kind of mix, regardless of who makes the appointments, brings diverse strengths to an important venture like the projects board. The board will serve without pay but can rely on public resources to promote the site’s advantages and possibilities.

The board’s major ally will be the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development, the professional development arm charged with overseeing the Yellow Creek site. Departments and board officials will tour the site today with state economic development chief Jimmy Heidel.

Mississippi holds golden opportunities with ownership of Yellow Creek. The seldom-ironclad promises of the federal government didn’t pan out. Mississippi’s most successful and widespread development lies in the private sector. To get it often takes longer; it’s frequently not as large as major federal installations. But the private sector doesn’t bend with every changing political wind, either, and Yellow Creek, eventually could enjoy the private-sector windscreen it’s never had.

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