The recipients of a $275 million economic development deal with the state, hope to begin construction by the beginning of 2018. Leaders in Hinds County and along the Coast are calling the package a "win-win" for municipalities and the state.
After nearly two years of negotiations, Governor Phil Bryant signed into law yesterday, a bill that will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in bonding and tax incentives for two corporations looking to build facilities in Mississippi.
Continental Tire is set to begin construction of a $1.45 billion facility in western Hinds County by January 2018. In Gulfport, Top Ship L-L-C, a subsidiary of Louisiana-based Edison-Chouest, is at least 18 months away from starting construction.
However, officials in Gulfport and Hinds County are already looking forward to the economic possibilities the two facilities will bring. Phil Fisher is the Mayor of Clinton. He says Continental will bring more than just a tire plant.
"There is all kinds of opportunity here for us to benefit and to grow from local businesses being able to benefit from them being here, catering, for example, hotels, all types of things," Fisher says. "There will be a greater need for it. I'm looking forward to growth in all of these industries in our cities."
In all, state officials believe the two facilities will add 3,500 jobs to the Mississippi economy. One thousand on the coast, and as many as 2,500 in Central Mississippi. But for Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes, the project acts as a signal to other industries letting them know the Coast is a good place to do business.
"A lot of us are tired of being the best-kept secret in America, the best kept secret in Mississippi," Hewes says. "There's lots of things, a lot of ships that built in our industrial seaway, right where there going. From luxury yachts that go around the world to ocean-going barges to tugs. They've been doing it already in our community. They believe in it, and we can't thank you enough for your continued commitment. It's going to be a great a wonderful commitment."
State economists believe both ventures will begin returning on the state’s investment by 2024.