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Vicksburg-Warren County Partnership wins $10,000 Entergy Excellerator grant

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CERES B site (photo from the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership)

In a post-COVID-19 world, it will take more than business as usual to get noticed by companies looking to move or expand facilities.

For the Vicksburg-Warren County Partnership, that means building an access road leading into a 174-acre site in the Ceres Industrial Park. The organization plans to use a $10,000 Excellerator Grant from Entergy Mississippi toward construction of the road.

This is the third year that the Vicksburg-Warren County Partnership has won Excellerator grants.

Ceres Industrial Park, which is 10 miles east of Vicksburg on Interstate 20, has 1,000 available acres in the park, including three parcels totaling 266 acres that have been qualified through Entergy’s Economic Development Qualified Site Program.

Entergy has awarded the organization and other economic development groups in the communities it serves more than $100,000 in matching grants through the company’s Excellerator Competitive Communities program. In its fourth year, the program recognizes excellence in marketing, site readiness and organizational excellence.

“These grants are more important than ever as we work to help Mississippi recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Ed Gardner, Entergy Mississippi director of business and economic development, in a statement. “The world of economic development is highly competitive, and Entergy works hard to help our communities be as prepared as possible so they can increase their chances of success.”

This year marketing grant applications topped the list. This shows that economic development organizations are enhancing the ways they promote their communities to site selectors.

Marketing grant winners:

  • Greater Jackson Alliance
  • Greater Grenada Partnership
  • Southwest Mississippi Partnership
  • Washington County Economic Alliance

Entergy’s interest in helping communities develop and maintain quality industrial sites continues to be paramount. The company continues to invest in site readiness activities that support industrial growth and sustainability.

Site readiness grant recipients:

  • Claiborne County Economic Development District
  • Hinds County Economic Development Authority
  • Pike County Economic Development District
  • Warren County Partnership

The success of a community is dependent on the health and structure of its economic development organization. Entergy supports nurturing successful economic development groups.

Organizational Excellence winners:

  • Washington County Economic Alliance
  • Cleveland – Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce

Along with assessments and grants, the Excellerator program offers training and workshops to all counties in Entergy’s service area. Entergy’s economic development team works with communities year-round to help prepare them for growth.

“We invest in our communities so customers can have opportunities without having to leave the state,” Gardner said. “This program helps people stay and thrive right here in Mississippi.”

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Lucy Derrossette is the newest member of the Vicksburg-Warren County Board of Realtors

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(photo courtesy Lucy Derrossette)

Vicksburg resident Lucy Derrossette is the newest member of the Vicksburg-Warren County Board of Realtors.

Derrossette, who has worked for the Vicksburg-Warren School District for the past 30 years as a teacher and at the central office as the Director of Innovation, is ready to start her new side job of helping individuals find a home.

“I am super excited because interest rates are so low that people can get houses for a lot less and loans will be available for them,” Derrossette said.

The Board of Realtors members are all certified and licensed to sell homes. For someone to become a realtor, they must pass a state and national exam.

Derrossette began taking classes in June while the COVID-19 pandemic was interrupting her job at the school district when everyone, including students, was sent home, so she was able to finish three months later. This is her second time to become a realtor; she first started 20 years ago.

Derrossette always had a passion for houses so being a realtor with Keller-Williams is a calling and not just a job.

“I always loved houses and people,” Derrossette said. “I think it is a great investment for anyone, especially teachers because they can get special loans up to $6,000 for teaching in the Vicksburg area for three years without having to pay the money back.”

Derrossette will continue working for the Vicksburg-Warren School District while also working as a realtor. She will be doing two things that she loves: selling houses and helping children.

To contact Derrossette concerning real estate in Vicksburg, call 601-301-0623.

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Vicksburg inks deal with Viking River Cruises valued at $2.5 million

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The Viking Mississippi (image source: Viking USA)

Although Vicksburg hasn’t seen a riverboat docking in months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn’t stopped the city or the companies running riverboat cruises from planning for the future.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced Tuesday that the city had signed an agreement with Viking USA, the parent company of Viking River Cruises. The contract includes $2.5 million in improvements that Viking will make to the waterfront. According to its website, Viking will begin Mississippi River cruises beginning in October 2022.

“This is a big win for Vicksburg’s future at no cost to taxpayers,” Flaggs wrote in a social media post Tuesday.

The agreement states that Viking will build a floating dock to accommodate its boats and a 10-foot wide sidewalk leading to parking and a pedestrian crossing over nearby railroad tracks. It could also include utility tie-ins, benches, pavilions, curbing, striping and signage Viking may want to add.

The city included the pedestrian crossing in its waterfront improvement plan announced in September.

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Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce graduates first Entrepreneur Bootcamp class

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Participants in the first class of the Vicksburg Entrepreneur Bootcamp graduated from the program the night of Nov. 10 at the Hinds Community College Campus.

For six weeks, 12 participants who are working to start or grow their small businesses learned about entrepreneurship as well as topics such as legal, finance, accounting, marketing and other essential components associated with starting and running a successful business.

The program included speakers from different industries that support small businesses as well as the presence of a business coach from Hinds Community College. Participants used the support system and resources afforded by the bootcamp to develop a business plan, which they can submit to compete for a seed grant of $1,000 to help them with the cost of opening or improving their recently opened small business. Participants competing for the seed grant will submit their plans on or before Dec. 8. They will also present the plan in front of a committee for review and ranking. The entrepreneur who develops the best and most feasible business plan will receive the $1,000 seed grant.

The Vicksburg Entrepreneur Bootcamp seed grant is sponsored by the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce, the City of Vicksburg, Hinds Community College, BancorpSouth, Mutual Credit Union, Home Bank, River Hills Bank, Regions, Guaranty Bank and Trustmark.

By proclamation of Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Nov. 16 through 22 is Mississippi’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. See the proclamation below.

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