Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. treated seniors at St. Aloysius High School to a forum about the basic concepts of economic development on Monday.
Vicksburg Catholic School hosted the Second Annual Mayor’s Economic Development Update where panelists shared personal and professional experiences with the students.
Panel members included Flaggs; Pablo Diaz, director of Vicksburg-Warren County Economic Development Partnership; Laura Beth Strickland, director of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau; Austin Golding of Golding Barge Line; Tim Cantwell of Cantwell-Anderson, Inc.; Warren County District 1 Supervisor Edward Herring; Mary Margaret Edney, Engineer Research and Development Center public affairs; and Sam Andrews with the City of Vicksburg.
Parker Brown, president of the Vicksburg Catholic School student body, served as a mediator for the panel.
One of the goals of the forum was to present Vicksburg as a viable location to live and work after graduation.
“If you were to meet someone new to Vicksburg, how would you sell them on our community and explain how Vicksburg has grown and developed in the past years?” a student asked Mayor Flaggs.
“I tell that story all the time,” Flaggs responded. “When I became Mayor, there were four cars parked on Washington Street and because of people like Tim and people like Pablo, we have the fastest growing city in the state of Mississippi. I tell anyone visiting Vicksburg, if you come to Vicksburg twice, you will want to live here.”
Other subjects ranged from the tourism industry to the future of retail. Students were curious about the future of the Outlets of Vicksburg, as new owners from Atlanta purchased the facility earlier this month and renamed it Vicksburg Commons.
“It is a very important transition,” Diaz said. “That area is a prime location in our community because it is co-located near the area hotels and right across the way from the National Military Park and right off Interstate 20. We will be meeting with (the new owners) soon to really work with them to try to make this what this needs to be.”
Diaz went on to say he hopes the mall will become a multipurpose space that is not limited to retail stores. He mentioned more restaurants would be great in that location to provide a variety of purpose instead of just shopping for clothes.
Saint Aloysius Principal Carla McHan summed up the forum.
“I was born and raised in Vicksburg,” she said. “I left and came back. I love this town. There is so much to offer, and our students have so much to offer back to Vicksburg.”