Posted on: October 18, 2012

Diana O’Toole with the Mississippi Development Authority speaks to the teams prior to the mapping process.

The Mississippi Development Asset Development Division recently made a stop in Laurel.
The process of asset mapping is designed to identify the assets that set a community apart from others or have the potential to enrich the quality of life of its citizens. Assets may be identified as natural geologic formations, historic buildings, landmarks and other attractions with the potential to entice tourists. They may also be identified as remarkable healthcare facilities or exceptional school systems.

The Jones County Economic Development Authority and Laurel Main Street partnered with  Mississippi State University, Mississippi Main Street Association, Mississippi Arts Commission, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mississippi Power, and the Mississippi Tourism Agency headed by the MDA to craft solid recommendations for the community.
The day started off with a brief meeting led by Diana O’Toole, Program Manager – Retirement & Community Development with the MDA. Five asset mapping teams were divided to cover all areas of Laurel. Through the mapping process, teams were allowed the opportunity for action planning, experiential learning, volunteer mobilization, and positive inspiration, all wrapped in one. The teams were allowed only two hours for this exercise.

Mayor Melvin Mack stopped in to greet the team on behalf of the City of Laurel over lunch that was catered by Raising Canes. George Bassi, Executive Director of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art then took over and shared  Laurel’s unique history.

Members of the Asset Mapping teams were treated to a brief history of Laurel by Lauren Rogers Musuem of Art Executive Director, George Bassi at Four.One.Five City Centre

According to the MDA’s website, the goal of of the Asset Development Division is to provide wonderful, statewide products that showcase historic buildings, industrial sites and the assets of the state. Specifically, asset mapping involves identifying assets in communities throughout Mississippi by pinpointing them on a GPS interactive website. Each team consisted of a tour guide, photographer, recorder, and GPS input.

Once the asset mapping has been completed in a community, the City of Laurel will be presented the findings, along with recommendations for improving and promoting the assets, promote quality of life, increase the competitiveness and increase tax revenues. The team also works with the community leaders to locate resources to assist in accomplishing the recommendations.