December 21, 2014  

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Geography Students Study McComb’s Assets for Downtown Development

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Geography students from The University of Southern Mississippi recently joined with the Asset Development Division of the Mississippi Development Authority to study downtown McComb’s opportunities for economic development.

Working with GPS equipment and geo-coded cameras, the combined team added downtown McComb to the state’s growing “asset map,” now available online: http://assetmap.mississippi.org

 The Southern Miss students gained an appreciation for the state’s wide-ranging economic development efforts, as well as the sometimes “hidden” assets of local towns such as McComb. Joy Foy, director of the Asset Mapping Division, and Brandi Hough, Project Manager, valued the fresh perspective on McComb through the eyes of college-age students.

The students and the professionals sometimes disagreed on McComb’s strongest assets. Foy and Hough both singled out the city’s railway heritage and green space along the downtown rail corridoras the asset with the most underdeveloped potential.The students saw more opportunity for the city in thearts, music and other activities.

“One of the best things about McComb, which could lead to many opportunities for the city, is its ties in history to music,” geography major Chance Byrd of Lumberton said.

Lamar Gillespie of Hattiesburg said what he loved most about McComb was its art festival that the group experienced the day of their trip. “The various crafts, jewelry and paintings on sale displayed the excellent talentsof McComb's local and surrounding artists.”

“What I like about McComb is the friendly people and unique building areas downtown,” said Southern Miss student Rochelle Russell-Odom of Anchorag, Alaska. “I would like to see more community spaces that bring all parts of McComb together, like more concerts and parks with playgrounds for children around the downtown area.”

For more information about the project, contact Dr. Mark Miller, Southern Miss professor of geography and interim chairman of the Department of Economic and Workforce Development at m.m.miller@usm.edu