(By Jeremy Weldon, Editor, The Panolian)
I listened with interest to a talk given by Batesville attorney Ryan Revere at a breakfast meeting one day this week. It was encouraging to hear the ideas one of our county’s young movers and shakers has for the development and economic progress of our fair city and county alike.
Revere serves as legal counsel for the South Panola school board, the Panola Partnership and is on a host of other community boards and committees.
He mostly spoke about the efforts of the Young Professionals of Panola, a group of almost 50 local businessmen and women dedicated to seeing an improvement in our county’s overall appearance and economic direction.
Revere is also heavily invested in the Main Street Program, and noted that all the different chamber of commerce-like groups have one common goal – make Batesville and Panola County an attractive place for industry, businesses of all size, and families deciding where to settle and grow.
Seemingly little things, like the “Welcome to Batesville” just north of the city on I-55, make a big difference to people who’s first impression of the city is often formed when they enter Batesville proper from the interstate or Hwy. 6.
The Young Professionals are limited in official actions they can take to improve our area, but their collective brain power and enthusiasm for a better Batesville is making a real difference.
After all, their social gatherings and small meetings often produce ideas (and general consensus) useful to aldermen, supervisors, and other elected officials. Consider, too, that these volunteers have lots of business and political connections across the state that can be tapped into when needed.
More than anything, though, the sheer energy and fresh perspective of the Young Professionals and Partnership staff is contagious.
No one cares much to listen to the poor editor (old and fat) carry on about the need for an economic vision, when we have a catch-pen full of folks like lawyer Revere (young and handsome) that can inspire our citizens to make the decisions that will lead to a more prosperous city and county alike.
Revere challenged the Exchange Club members to think of Batesville as a suburb of Oxford. He pointed out that few sane people want to live in an area so grid- locked with traffic and congestion as Oxford, but enjoy the amenities and business opportunities available in our thriving neighbor city.
Those same people, however, might be highly attracted to living in Panola County if proper attention is given to our general appearance, quality of schools, and recreational opportunities.
Consider the price of real estate and general living expenses, and he is correct to surmise that Batesville and Panola on a whole can become good choices for families wanting to work and enjoy Oxford, and then escape to a more peaceful home here.
Partnership CEO Joe Azar is constantly talking up the “Highway 6 Corridor” that is so important to the economic development of every Panola County resident. Soon, lots and lots of federal money will be appropriated around Mississippi in another round of government grants for economic stimulus.
Officials from counties and municipalities all over the state will be competing for those vitally-important dollars.
I, for one, am glad we have people like Revere, Azar, Colleen Clark (Main St. program), Meredith Fleming (Partnership), and dozens of other professionals making the case that those dollars belong here, where officials from all areas of local government can work together to bring more and better industries for our labor force, and ultimately a higher standard of living for all our people.