EDD director cites need for feasibility study ahead of tourism tax vote

Staff Writer

Before the city votes on a tourism tax referendum to build a sports complex, a feasibility study may be first on the list.
Economic Director Matthew Harrison recommended to the Grenada City Court at a special called meeting Monday that the projected sports complex is only a small piece of the pie, and he recommends a sports complex feasibility study that will reveal just what the future holds for the city.
Harrison took the floor for 20 minutes at the meeting and made a presentation showing what he called an economic revolution for the city and county.
“The study would show what the demand is and what’s out there,” Harrison said.
No vote was taken on the matter, but when asked by Ward Three City Councilman Lewis Johnson how long the study would take, Harrison said up to six weeks. For the larger scale study, which will cover the sports complex, and a more comprehensive look at the economic scale will take two to three months.
“The larger study will have people that will come into this area and live and do interviewing. It’s a very thorough study,” Harrison said.
Harrison began his presentation with a connect the dot-type of display of Grenada as a whole, and starting the process focusing on Interstate 55.
“We all know that 1.2 million people drive through Grenada each year on the interstate,” Harrison said. “Out of that number, people are pulled to our highways, 333 and 332 and MLK Boulevard.”
Harrison’s presentation showed Grenada’s I-55 overpass as a “hello” approach equipped with beautiful landscaping and creative designs.

From the interstate, Harrison moved his focus to downtown Grenada, which includes the Chakchiuma Swamp.
Further in his presentation, Harrison pointed out that Grenada Lake is the most important resource the area has, and he said more has to be done at both that area and the Dogwoods golf course.
“We have the biggest lake in Mississippi, and there needs to be development out there,” Harrison said. “We see thousands of visitors that come here every year with their RVs, but what about the families that don’t have the RVs? Lodges, cabins, these people want somewhere to stay and look at the lake while cleaning their fish.”

Mayor Billy Collins (from left) and City Councilmen Joshua Hughes, Ronnie Merriman and Ernest Hargove listen as Economic Development Director Matthew Harrison discusses the proposed tourism tax.