History

Marion County's historic courthouse stands as the centerpiece of Columbia's downtown.
Marion County’s historic courthouse stands as the centerpiece of Columbia’s downtown.

Like Marion County, MCDP claims a rich history which runs through the economic fabric of the county and its county seat, Columbia.  Soon after the construction of the county’s iconic courthouse was completed in 1905, the business community came together to organize. 

  • 1906 –   The Commercial Club of Columbia is formed.

This organization worked on behalf of the economic and community development in business and industry in the early years of the 20th Century and began the history of the Marion County Development Partnership as the second-oldest such organization in the state

Columbia's newspaper reported on the town's success in gaining the Industrial Training School in 1917.
Columbia’s newspaper reported on the town’s success in gaining the Industrial Training School in 1917.
  • 1917 –   The Commercial Club of Columbia donates 3000 acres and $50,000 to the State of Mississippi for the development of the “Mississippi Industrial Training School,” which later became known as the Columbia Training School.
  • 1922, October 9 –   The Commercial Club becomes the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.
  • 1932 –   Columbia Mayor Hugh White and the Chamber of Commerce lead the citizens of Columbia to invest money to build a factory for Reliance Manufacturing Company.

 

Reliance Manufacturing opened in Columbia during the Depression years.
Reliance Manufacturing opened in Columbia during the Depression years.

 

This action was so successful, increasing sales tax revenues in Columbia by 26% while they were falling by 32% in the rest of the state, that Mississippi adopted “The Columbia Plan,” attracting multiple industrial projects to the state during The Great Depression.

Reliance Manufacturing became today’s Pioneer Aerospace, Mississippi’s first aerospace company, still providing hundreds of jobs for Marion County.

 

 

The parachute to land the Mars Rover was created at Columbia's Pioneer Aerospace facility.
The parachute to land the Mars Rover was created at Columbia’s Pioneer Aerospace facility.
PioneerAerospace
Pioneer Aerospace employs hundreds from Marion and surrounding counties today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1952 –   Hugh White is now Governor of Mississippi and implements a version of The Columbia Plan as his program “Balance Agriculture With Industry,” known as B.A.W.I.  Columbia leads the State in the use of the program to build the first B.A.W.I. plant, New Orleans Furniture.

This program was the pre-cursor to today’s Industrial Revenue Bond program, used nationally to incentivize industrial development

  • 1968 –  Marion County forms its Economic Development District to “improve, promote and develop” the county’s economy. The Marion County Chamber of Commerce donates land for the development of the Columbia Water Park, working actively in community development.
  • 2004 – The Marion County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development District merge to become the Marion County Development Partnership.
    The Marion County Development Partnership at 412 Courthouse Square in Columbia.
    The Marion County Development Partnership at 412 Courthouse Square in Columbia.
  • Today — The Marion County Development Partnership strives toward its mission of providing a framework within which public and private resources can be utilized effectively to promote community and economic development in Marion County. MCDP works to create opportunities in Marion County through the development of its resources so businesses can thrive and residents and visitors alike can enjoy a great quality of life.