Mississippi Choctaw planning technology park

    Philadelphia, Mississippi (AP)

    The Mississippi Band of Choctaw unveiled plans during May for a planned technological industrial park. The plan’s announcement came during the 2005 Choctaw TechVantage Conference, May 2-3.

    The conference highlighted the Choctaw Tech Parc as well as other properties owned by the tribe throughout the state to educate businesses and industries of the offerings available to companies looking for places to locate.

    TechParc is a planned 150-acre complex on the Pearl River Reservation in Neshoba county. It is designed to provide industries having more technologically advanced needs with the resources that would make relocating in the park more attractive.

    “The next wave is going to be the development of technology based jobs and higher skilled jobs so we are putting all of the pieces into place,” said tribal Director of Economic Development John Hendrix.

    The TechParc will include much of the area occupied by the American Greetings facility and the Chatha and Choctaw Electronics buildings. It will incorporate undeveloped land behind those facilities with buildings and infrastructure being constructed as needed.

    Hendrix said the plan will be implemented in four phases with renovation of the American Greetings facility being an integral part of the first phase.

    “We spelled the name with a ‘C’ to give it that techy feel because technology companies want to come into that kind of environment,” said Community Development Coordinator Ivy Owen. “And that is how we are going to redesign the American Greetings facility, to give it that kind of atmosphere.”

    American Greetings is scheduled to relocate to the former U.S. Motors facility by June 15 and Owen said the building would then be converted into a technology based flex-space with the ability to lease to multiple clients ranging in size from 8,000 square feet to 120,000 square feet.

    Hendrix said the tribe is on its way to being a center for high-tech jobs with medical equipment and aerospace companies having already reached agreements to relocate to reservation facilities across Mississippi.

    He said the tribe is partnering with four universities to create a research consortium and provide technology services to industries and businesses who team up with the tribe.

    Hendrix said Lockheed-Martin, University of Mississippi Medical Center and AAI have already committed to bringing in high-tech, high paying jobs to the area.

    “The technology conference will bring in a lot of the people who have expressed interest here and they will be touring the facility,” Hendrix said.

    The tribe owns facilities in DeKalb and Philadelphia as well as Carthage and on the Gulf Coast.

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