MDA plots city assets
by Rory Doyle
Jan 31, 2013 | 2100 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A group of mappers visited Cleveland recently to document and share all that is special about the town and surrounding communities.

The Asset Mapping Development Group is a project of the Mississippi Development Authority that focuses on non-traditional economic advancement opportunities unique to communities across the state.

The group identifies these assets and pinpoints them on a GPS interactive map available for public guidance online.

The project took form in 2009 and the interactive map was launched in 2011.

"The best part of getting to asset map a community with so many wonderful assets like Cleveland, is getting to share those stories with others," said Joy Foy with the MDA Asset Development Division.

"It is all about connections," Foy added. "The more we know about other parts of our state, instead of just the place we live, the better we all become at telling the Mississippi story to the world."

Mapped communities are given an inventory of assets they already have, along with many suggestions and ideas on how those assets can be improved for economic development.

The mappers continue to work with the areas by creating a vision on what the communities wish to become in the next 10-20 years and help devise a plan to make that happen.

Asset Mapping focused on six categories during their Cleveland canvass: business/commerce; history/culture; city/infrastructure; parks/recreation; art/music/dance/performance; and service oriented organizations.

"Last Tuesday was the first time I was able to truly experience the residents, culture and assets of Cleveland," said Brandi Hough, project manager and Cleveland team leader. "I'm looking forward to working with the leaders of Cleveland on ways we can promote and further develop this great city."

Myrtis Tabb, associate vice president at Delta State University, has been working closely with the group and the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce for the project.

"We have all these great things related to culture, history, infrastructure and recreation," said Tabb. "They all speak to the creative economic community that contributes to the quality of Cleveland. This is the work of many people.

"It's a great idea to bring the mapping team and other state agencies here to show what we have. We know we have a progressive, thriving community, but we also want to be open to comments from others about how we can improve."

Tabb received help planning for Asset Mapping from Chamber Executive Vice Presdient Judson Thigpen, Mayor Billy Nowell, Nan Sanders, Cetin Oguz and Cheryl Line.

Members of the mapping crew all conveyed positive verbal reports after their visit and also provided suggestions for the future.

Asset Mapping will sort through their findings and provide a written report for city and county leaders within the next couple months.

According to Hough, information uploaded to the map will be available "on the website hopefully by the end of February."

To view current towns already on the interactive map, visit www.assetmap.mississippi.org.