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CEDA - Category I Winner

Re-Claim Walnut Grove – They Will Come the 2016 Community Economic Development Award

February 2, 2017

Walnut Grove, Mississippi – The Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC) announced that Re-Claim Walnut Grove – They Will Come won the 2016 Community Economic Development Award (CEDA) on February 2, 2016.

The CEDA program is a “Best Practices” program intended to recognize exceptional contributions of communities in the State of Mississippi for the following efforts: business retention & expansion, business recruitment, community development and community involvement.

With the opening of the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility and MDOC Transition Centers, Walnut Grove became known as “that little prison town.” In 2012, new leadership began efforts to reclaim Walnut Grove’s identity as a warm, welcoming town “Open for Business.” The first seal, flag, and motto “Where You’re Always Welcome!” were adopted. Leaders aggressively pursued  town-wide landscaping, new street signs, banners, sidewalks, fitness trails, rehabilitation of town-owned facilities, A 25-year comprehensive plan and development codes.  A 35-year-old community festival was revamped, renamed and now attracts thousands. Walnut Grove became the first town in Mississippi with all LED Street Lighting.

 A FOX TV's "Hell’s Kitchen” contestant opened a restaurant and expanded this year.

The Mississippi State Guard moved its HQ from Thompson Field to an abandoned factory.

A pallet factory owner desiring to relocate from Jackson saw potential as he passed by one of the largest eyesores in town, a long-closed lumber mill. Through a cooperative effort of Walnut Grove, Carthage, and Leake County leaders, T.B. Enterprises purchased and rehabbed the facility now employing over 35 with plans for future growth. This number of jobs may not be significant to many towns, but to a town that had just lost 250 in 2016, the impact is huge.

Walnut Grove has reclaimed its identity – new industry, new businesses, and new organizations locating in Walnut Grove is just the start.


To learn more about the Re-claim Walnut Grove – They Will Come, please contact:

The Honorable J. Brian Gomillion, Mayor, Town of Walnut Grove
PO Box 69
Walnut Grove, MS 39189
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: (601)253-2321 

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