The Clarksdale based Delta Regional Authority, an entity created in 2000, continues to do great things for the Mississippi Delta. Some of DRA’s goals are to grow small businesses and help entrepreneurs, promote tourism in the coverage area, strengthen and cultivate innovate partnerships, promote good health, enhance and support the Delta’s workforce, and enhance transportation and infrastructure in their coverage area. Since its founding, the DRA has invested $163 million into more than 1,000 projects in the coverage area that have attracted total public and private investments of $3.3 billion. Additionally, DRA investments have helped create and retain more than 26,000 jobs, train more than 7,200 workers for 21st Century jobs, and deliver water and sewer improvements to more than 64,000 residents. Chris Masingill of Arkansas is the current Federal Co-Chairman and Chris does an outstanding job of running DRA. We at the DBJ salute this wonderful entity for helping improve the many who live in this region.
We at Delta Business Journal wish all of our readers a happy and prosperous 2017. Hope and optimism are always at the forefront of every new year when old calendars are tossed to the side and new ones are put in place to welcome in a new year. We hope the DBJ’s readers are optimistic about what 2017 and the many positives things that will take place in our region during this new year. Outlooks may be based on what took place in the Delta in 2016 and if so, that is a good place to start as many positives occurred in our region this past year. One of the most positive in 2016 was the opening of GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi in Cleveland that will serve as an anchor to the many other museums now located in the region. The GRAMMY Museum will become a beacon for tourists far and wide who are interested in seeing the Delta and that will go a long way toward our tourism agenda and strategy. Another point of light—farming in 2016 was not the disaster many ag pundits had predicted it would be at the start of 2016. Our area of the state survives on agriculture and when the farmers do well, so does the Mississippi Delta. Infrastructure wise, the state and other government entities finally determined the Delta’s roads and bridges were in need of attention and that is now taking place all over the region. In our healthcare system, 2016 saw several upgrades in our telehealth programs that will enhance the care of our citizens who are being treated in rural areas. Our people must be healthy in order to live a productive life. In the area of education, several elementary and high schools as well as our junior colleges and two universities reassessed their curriculums and determined some of their programs were not an asset to their schools. These lesser performing programs will be discontinued, existing ones enhanced and new ones will soon be on the way—to better the educational opportunities for all Deltans. In the area of Economic development, our region saw many business and manufacturing concerns expand and we currently witnessing downtown upgrades in Clarksdale, Cleveland, and Greenville in the way of refurbishments and new construction. While 2016 was a step forward in a variety of ways for the Mississippi Delta, this past year also saw the passing of several longtime leaders. Their hard work and commitment to the Delta will never be forgotten. In 2017, let’s continue to move our region of Mississippi forward.