OKOLONA – They have a plan and they voted last week to work that plan to bring more businesses and industry to town.
The Okolona Chamber of Commerce held its annual business meeting Dec. 3, with chamber executives giving a quick look at the past 12 months and outlining plans for the new year.
“We have an annual banquet each spring and come together to tout the successes we have and it is billed as an official meeting,” said Okolona Chamber of Commerce Director Perry Grubbs. “But three months of the year are already gone by that time and we like for our directors and committees to hit the ground running at the first of the year.”
Grubbs pointed to the Battle Of Okolona Re-enactment slated for February as one of the first major events for the community in 2014.
“In Design, a steering committee made progress toward the Confederate Cemetery Revitalization Project and the re-enactment,” said Grubbs. “This event will produce tourism for Okolona and Chickasaw County in a major way.”
Grubbs said Main Street Okolona, under the direction of Tanya Franks, will once again coordinate development in the downtown area.
“Oktoberfest, sponsored by The Honey Bee, and the Magnolia Festival, sponsored by the city are slated again for this year,” said Grubbs. “The Lanier Club has been very successful with the Wreaths Across America Program and that will continue to grow.”
Grubbs said plans are to once again host the November Christmas Open House that draws hundreds of shoppers downtown each year and to sponsor the 2014 Christmas Parade.
Grubbs said the Okolona Industrial Mega Site was formally announced at the Chamber Annual Banquet in 2013.
“This year we turned the industrial development arm of the Chamber over to Josh West at Three Rivers Planning and Development,” said Grubbs. “This alliance should result in additional jobs and have an enormous impact on the residents in the region.”
Grubbs said Okolona has seen the recent opening of General Dollar, Fred’s and Family Dollar. Grubbs also said Okolona School District continues to make strides with Okolona High School earning a “C” in local state testing scores.
“Chamber membership has grown both in number an volume and we hope to continue that,” said Grubbs. “We are excited about our work and we are looking forward to a great year in 2014.”
Grubbs said more than 200 new jobs have been added at Okolona businesses and industry this year.
The Okolona Chamber of Commerce has 17 major sponsors that support it with annual donations of from $10,000 to $200. The chamber has 35 business and civic members and 50 individual members.