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Old Posted Mar 2, 2010, 7:43 PM
Johnny Ryall Johnny Ryall is offline
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I-69/269 corridor moving forward as supervisors consider firm for master plan
the Commercial Appeal | By Henry Bailey

The Interstate 69/269 International Trade Corridor -- envisioned as a route to continent-wide economic impact for DeSoto County -- is rolling on beyond the idea stage. The DeSoto County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider planners' recommendation of a Cincinnati-based firm to conduct a strategic development master plan for the corridor. McBride Dale Clarion was the unanimous choice of the 15-member DeSoto Planning Commission, which acted Thursday after seven submittals obtained in October were narrowed to that firm and Nashville-based PB Americas Inc. ''We're very excited to be at this stage of the selection process,'' said Jim McDougal, DeSoto Planning director. ''McBride is the group that ranked highest among the seven at the initial application stage, and it ranked higher when it was in the final two.'' Applicants were ranked in nine areas, including expertise in major corridor projects and in public outreach. The public equation is very important, McDougal said, in building community support through a large number of private and public stakeholders. The plan, which will receive federal funding, is expected to cost several hundred thousand dollars with final figures to be negotiated after supervisors give the final approval.

DeSoto County has grown in population from about 50,000 in the early 1980s to more than 150,000 today, with an additional 100,000 people forecast over the next 20 years. The premise that supports the trade corridor, McDougal says, is the fact that the county is ideally positioned, both in geography and history, to be the cultural, economic, social and environmental center of the Mid-South. The corridor extends approximately 30 miles from U.S. 61 on the west to the DeSoto-Marshall county line on the east and will extend at least two miles on the north and south sides of the corridor. The planning area will encompass at least 120 square miles.
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