Tupelo rated nation’s No. 2 micropolitan

TUPELO – Site Selection magazine has named Tupelo one of 2008’s most active micropolitan areas for new and existing industries in the country.

The list was published in the March edition of the trade magazine. It’s the fourth consecutive year Tupelo has been included, according to the Community Development Foundation.

This year, Tupelo tied for second with the Daphne-Fairhope, Ala., region. The list ranks nearly 700 micropolitan areas, designated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“This recognition is confirmation that commitment and continuity by private and public sector leaders is working,” said CDF President and CEO David Rumbarger in a statement. “This momentum will only pick up speed as the regional and national economies rebound.”

According to the bureau, a micro area is a largely rural economy that includes a city of at least 10,000 people but less than 50,000 and covers at least one county. Of the 3,141 counties in the U.S., the magazine said 694 are classified as micro areas and account for about 10 percent of America’s population.

The Statesville-Mooresville region in North Carolina topped the list with 17 economic development projects in 2008. Statesville-Mooresville, about a 40-minute drive north of Charlotte, has been ranked first or second by Site Selection every year but one since 1999, according to the magazine.

This year, Tupelo and Daphne-Fairhope came in No. 2 with 12 projects each.

Three other Mississippi communities made the list: Columbus tied for No. 14 with five projects; Meridian tied for No. 41 with three projects; and Oxford tied for No. 65 with two projects.

CDF said Tupelo’s 12 projects in 2008 included expansions NEW Corp., General Atomics, Hunter Douglas and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. Each project had to meet certain criteria in order to be counted, including a minimum of 50 jobs created or $1 million in capital investment.

The total capital investment for the year was $151,017,000, with 512 new jobs created, according to CDF.

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