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Story Archives: Copeland says Ferriday can share Vidalia's success
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|Copeland says Ferriday can share Vidalia's success|
Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland told the Ferriday Rotary Club last week that economic development in Vidalia during the past years has included $25 million in state and federal grants and more than $40 million in investments by Fortune 500 companies.
He said Ferriday can enjoy economic growth, too, by hard work and cooperation.
"It's a matter of going to Washington and Baton Rouge and talking with people," Copeland said. "We stay in contact with our congressional delegation."
Copeland said one of the biggest new businesses for Vidalia, Louisiana Elastomer, LLC (LAEL), a rubber recycling plant, should begin operation at the end of October.
Work to secure a port on the Mississippi at Vidalia is also continuing, he said, and is a key to locating one business prospect.
"We're talking to a company with $45 million to invest and they say that it is essential they have a port," Copeland said.
Copeland also said the Recreation District 3 Board of Directors signed an agreement to purchase land near Taconey for a recreational facility. He said the board now has to sign a lease agreement with the city of Vidalia before proceeding with plans for the complex.
"Everything is positive," he said. "And we're all going to move forward together. It's not Vidalia, Ridgecrest, Ferriday, Clayton and Natchez. It's the parish and the Miss-Lou. And we can help each other by working together."
Copeland says he hopes the days will return when "you could not walk up and down the streets of Ferriday because there were so many people."
While growing up in Ferriday, he recalled that he and his cousins — Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart and Mickey Gilley — often visited his grandmother's restaurant, the Cozy Cafe, which was located on Mississippi Ave., now Mickey Gilley Ave.
"There would be songs on the jukebox and the three cousins would go in and play those songs on the piano just the way they sounded," Copeland said. "I was outside with Hubert Lee McGlothin shooting marbles. If I would have gone inside for at least 10 minutes there's no telling where I would be today."
Copeland attended the Ferriday Chamber of Commerce meeting two days earlier and said he was impressed with the enthusiasm of the members.
"I see an attitude change," Copeland said. "People are asking what they can do to help. The thing that is special about Vidalia is the people. There has not been one time that I have called someone and asked them for some help on a project and they not come on board with dedication. Ferriday has the same type of people."
Copeland said Mayor Glen McGlothin will help turn Ferriday around.
"Glen worked for us for four years as marketing director," Copeland said. "When he told me he was going to run for mayor I tried to talk him out of it. But his exact words were, 'I love this community.' And he does with every breath. But it's going to take each and every one of the people in Ferriday working with him."
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