A stretch of economic development on the verge of breaking in Claiborne County could eventually create more than twice as many jobs than the counties current population.
In 2017 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed by President Trump low income urban and rural areas could receive special attention for investors and businesses to develop and create jobs and get federal tax deductions. Now Claiborne County is next in line.
Out of 100 areas declared “opportunity zones”, Claiborne County is taking advantage to seek big changes.
“Claiborne County is open for business,” County Economic Director Milton Chambliss said. “This is one of the largest opportunity zones and most strategic opportunity zones in the United States.”
Leading the charge to be the first to move in is Houston Engineering Services Company, (HESCO) looking to bring the liquidating natural gas (LNG) business along the Mississippi River.
“It’s taking natural gas and liquefying it to below -260 degrees Fahrenheit,” HESCO CEO Monte Burton stated. “Allowing it to be turned into a liquid state which allows it to be transported.”
Burton expects to have his company break ground on building the plant west of Alcorn State by January requiring up to 1,000 construction jobs alone. But many question if the community can handle that production.
“It will take time for all of that to develop between the infrastructures, the permitting, there’s a tremendous amount of process that have to take place,” Milton explained. “And what people are going to see is economic development in its most basic form.”
Looking to provide more fuel sources to ships and barges up and down the river and opening up trade to Puerto Rico and Honduras, HESCO CEO Burton explains why he chose Claiborne.
“It’s going to attract people from all over the state,” Burton said. “Also when you have Universities such as Alcorn State, Hinds Community College, and other schools we’re going to help put programs together to help train people for the jobs that are going to be offered here.”
Following HESCO the County Chamber expect more plants and companies to follow totaling 6400 acres of industrial space filled around the southwestern Claiborne County region estimating 30,000 new jobs when finished.