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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – $3.4 million comes from a state grant to Hattiesburg. It enters some economic development on Classic Drive in North Hattiesburg, off US Highway 49.

“It’s become a norm for Hattiesburg to have these kinds of ads where you advertise jobs, investments, or infrastructure,” Mayor Toby Barker said.

The Mississippi Development Authority’s $3.4 million site development grant will help create a location for upcoming businesses in the central city.

“One thing, a challenge for us as a community, we’re trying to bring more economic development, is to have sites ready to go. Our industrial park is almost complete. We have a great workforce, but having this real estate ready to go is a challenge for us,” says Barker.

The land is called “The Garden”. It is part of USM’s Innovation and Commercialization Park. The region is already home to “The Accelerator,” a tech-focused business incubator teeming with public research firms and private start-ups.

“The vision was that this whole park would become a place where innovation could be cultivated from mind to market, from idea to reality and dreams became businesses and employ people and it it’s just an area of ​​prosperity, and it’s taken a while for the vision to dawn,” says Barker.

The grant will be used to clear the land, construct access roads and extend water and sewer systems for future buildings.

Mississippi State Senator for District 45 Chris Johnson says that every year the state allocates money and that he works with others in the Pine Belt to get what they need to continue to grow.

“Every year, we spend money on economic development. It is therefore a question of how much we can appropriate for economic development. And again, the opportunities that arise to invest that money in economic development. Every year is not the same and so at any time in Hattiesburg we can withdraw that money here and use it. It’s a great day for everyone.

Funding will also be used to repave the classic drive. The city will make construction announcements when it has an official schedule.

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