“Build Better Together” Grenada Community Masterplan Announced
By ADAM PRESTRIDGE (/taxonomy/term/15415) - Publisher Thu, 10/21/2021 - 8:45 PM
Anticipation runs high for Grenada residents as the wait continues for the first signs of construction of the mammoth Milwaukee Tool accessories manufacturing facility. The game-changing industrial development project was announced in mid-April and once complete will anchor the I55 Business and Technology Park. However, as with any project of its magnitude, it takes methodical planning before dirt can be turned in preparation for the more than 600,0000-square-foot structure that could increase to as large as 1.3 million square feet. As Grenada ushered in October, leaders with the Greater Grenada Partnership (GGP) held an informal meeting with business owners, community leaders, and local stakeholders at the Holmes Community College Auditorium as groundbreaking for the Milwaukee Tool facility grows nearer.
GGP Chief Executive Officer Matthew Harrison facilitated the 90-minute meeting as more than 150 audience members, including city, county, and leadership from various organizations and boards listened intently as he shared his credentials, the mission of the Partnership and explained in detail the necessity of the meeting. “The agency is here as a lead agency and an agency looking towards growing Grenada,” Harrison opened. “We want you, your influence, leadership, and input. At the end of the day, there is no way one single entity or one single agency can manage all the growth that is necessary for Grenada. That’s why you’re here. You are leaders and your influence can help drive Grenada to what we all know it can become and what it really needs to be.”
“Growth that we prepare for now, plan for now, and put together now will determine what Grenada will look like over the next five, 10, 15, and 20 years,” Harrison said. “As an agency, we have determined that we couldn’t just be an economic development agency, we couldn’t just be a ribbon-cutting agency – we needed to be more. We needed to create more opportunities and do more to move all areas of development forward.” Throughout this planning, Harrison and his team created the Five Pillars for Success. These include Policy and Government, Community Mapping and Planning, Industrial Growth and Expansion, Community Development, and Workforce Development.
“You can create industrial development, you can create a positive growth, but without new people, you don’t have the workforce, you don’t have talent growth, and if you don’t have good leadership that is working together to make things possible, then success is not possible,” Harrison said. “But when you put all of these things together and you put the people together that are necessary, you put the groups together that are necessary, success comes.”
More than $300 million has been invested in private industry growth in Grenada County since 2019, according to Harrison. He also shared that in 2019-20, prior to the Milwaukee Tool announcement, the GGP announced that 1,965 jobs would be created in Grenada County. Another 1,200 jobs were announced in 2021 and currently, 300 more jobs are projected to be added in 2022 based on signed deals. “Sometimes a community doesn’t see the positives,” Harrison said. “There are a lot of things happening that are net positives that we as a community need to take and use as a catalyst for our next-level growth. Milwaukee is truly Grenada’s Nissan.”
With population and job creation increases of the magnitude, the “student pipeline” will be crucial, according to Harrison. With an expected influx of students, Harrison went on to share a conceptual idea of a mega campus, which would include a new, state-of-the-art Grenada High School as well as a new Holmes Community College facility. The drawing displayed shared athletic facilities for both the secondary school and two-year college.
In addition, Harrison discussed workforce recruitment and his plan to utilize current and exiting troops from Camp McCain Training Center, which is preparing for a $200 million growth plan, to fill positions at Grenada industries including Milwaukee Tool. A relocation plan will be set in place where private donors can help fund moving expenses for non-management positions industries. He added that plans are in the works with the Grenada School District to offer and train high schoolers to fill the growing needs of industries through workforce development.
Lastly, Harrison shared infrastructure and housing needs and the plan for apartment complexes and new home builds as workers begin to move to the area. He revealed several artist renderings showing home construction concepts planned by Stewart Rutledge from the Rosedale Corporation. With all of the moving parts involved with the proper development of Grenada with substantial industrial and population growth on the horizon, Harrison concluded by announcing Kendig Keast Collaborative of Sugar Land, Texas, as the GGP and Grenada County’s certified master planning firm that will be tasked to speak with stakeholders as they develop a step-by-step plan to answer each of the targeted needs in the community. The firm, led by Gary Mitchell, FAICP began work immediately on the Build Better Together Project and hopes to have a needs report available by mid-2022.