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|Board to decide OEDC's fate|
The Ouachita Economic Development Corp.'s board of directors will meet next week to consider its future amid a drive to push the area toward regionalized economic development efforts.
The board will meet Thursday, June 26, at 7:30 a.m. at the Monroe Chamber of Commerce's offices. The meeting is open to the public.
OEDC board members are expected to hear a presentation from representatives of a yet-to-be-named northeast Louisiana regional economic development alliance.
A member of the OEDC board, who requested anonymity, told The Ouachita Citizen that OEDC most likely would disband in lieu of playing a role in new regional alliance.
Also, the OEDC board is expected consider donating the organization's furniture, fixtures and some $185,000 in cash to the yet-to-be-named regional economic development alliance, according to the OEDC board member who requested anonymity.
Efforts to create a new northeast Louisiana regional economic development alliance are being led by Ouachita Parish businessmen James Moore and Todd Perry, James Davison of Ruston, former Senate President Randy Ewing of Quitman, Elton Kennedy of Mer Rouge and CenturyTel CEO Glen Post.
Perry confirmed he will be on hand for next week's OEDC board meeting but declined to speculate on the nature of his participation.
"We've had opportunities to visit with OEDC and enjoyed those meetings," said Perry, who serves on the board of the new regional alliance. "It's good to see people get out and work together and we're looking forward to that good work."
OEDC interim President Pat Regan also declined to confirm whether OEDC would consider shuttering operations to join the regional alliance.
Regan said the OEDC board meeting agenda had not been finalized. He expects the action the board will take "fits into the long-range planning that was done and came out last year."
Last year, OEDC commissioned an economic development study of northeastern Louisiana. That report indicated regional economic development efforts were needed to make northeast Louisiana more competitive nationally.
"The more exciting thing is the progress being made on the regional effort and moving ahead with whatever the regional group is going to do to bring that into place," Regan said. "I think that's the biggest message and the most positive message for our entire region because what you're doing is you're looking at the region as a future."
"The most meaningful thing that's going to come out of (the meeting Thursday) as we continue to go forward in the planning and fundraising, it's the region that's really the news," Regan added.