Community Development Foundation of Tupelo/Lee County (MS) – Economic Development Strategic Plan
ChallengeTupelo and Lee County function as the regional center in North Mississippi. The award-winning North Mississippi Medical Center, a rapidly growing retail sector, the Tupelo Advanced Education Center, and Elvis’ birthplace are among the assets that draw people into the county from the surrounding region. The County also functions as a primary employment center for the region with a strong manufacturing focus. The recent attraction of a Toyota manufacturing plant to the region stands to further strengthen this aspect of the Lee County economy. However, its primary industry cluster – the furniture manufacturing industry – has suffered significantly in the face of globalization.
ApproachThe Community Development Foundation has catalyzed the reinvention of Lee County’s economy more than once over the course of its 60 year history. The 2010 – 2020 Strategic Plan is the fifth of Tupelo / Lee County’s 10-year Strategic Planning efforts. This newest plan aims to be a catalyst for the transformation of Lee County’s economy from furniture manufacturing to a knowledge economy based on advanced manufacturing and professional services.
OutcomeThe resulting plan outlined strategies and actions to support this transformation. The plan was adopted in June 2010 and the CDF organized implementation teams around key strategies. Within a year of adopting the plan, the CDF expects to have the tools and programs in place to implement many of the strategies including furthering its entrepreneurial development efforts, developing a new business park, and launching a Lee County alumni network.