LUMBERTON, MS (WDAM) - Lumberton's new mayor has one thing on his mind: jobs.
"Everyone that you meet here in Lumberton says, 'hey man, where are the jobs?," said Mayor Quincy Rogers. "We need to get our kids off the street, we need jobs and that's the number one thing in Lumberton."
Mayor Rogers said Lumberton needs to be "site-ready" for companies to invest in the area. Right now, a grant from the Army Corps of Engineers is helping with water and sewer lines to the South Lamar Industrial Park, which the city gained in a trade with Lamar County. Rogers said having those areas ready are more attractive to companies.
"Maybe this company doesn't have a couple years, they are ready to go somewhere and build and open and get their products," said Rogers. "Lumberton wants to be site ready and that's what we are doing right now."
Rogers said the first industry in the park, CCS Industrial Services, is expected to bring up to 250 jobs.
"It's ready, the site it ready, so all the company has to do is just come in and say we are ready to go," Rogers said. "We're hungry, we're ready to do this work."
Rogers has served the city of Lumberton for twelve years, most recently as Ward 3 Alderman before earning the top spot. He said change is what pushed him to run in June's election.
"I just have all these ideas that Lumberton can be so much better than what it is," said Rogers. "Lumberton is one of the best kept secrets in Mississippi, so my idea is to basically open up different avenues for Lumberton, expose it to things it's never been exposed to."
Rogers ousted former Mayor Kent Crider for the top spot, earning 63 percent of the vote with a total 315 votes to Crider's 189.
"A mayor that sits in this seat everyday is a mayor that is not doing anything," said Rogers. "So, I want to be out and about, looking. I want to be knocking on doors, that's my job."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it was estimated about 2,200 people called Lumberton home in 2016. But, Mayor Rogers said that was about all they did, sleep there.
"Our tax bases are leaving out and going to work, they are shopping out and coming home to sleep," Rogers said. "We want to be able to attract, that will keep our young people here because that is where our future is."
To attract, Rogers he'd like to see more business on Main Avenue, like it was when he was growing up.
"When I was a child, you could walk these streets in Lumberton and there was a store here, a store here a store here, so you had everything you wanted right here in Lumberton, I want to bring that back," said Rogers.
"Looking at we have now.. is nothing," Rogers said. "But, I see past that. As a mayor, I have to see past that and all the blighted spaces and I have to be able to visualize something in those places."
From jobs to a revitalization throughout the city, Rogers said he also has a vision to help Lumberton's youth grow and help the city's economy. He said he would like to a put a program together at City Hall to get children involved with mentors.
"If we invest in our children, that is our greatest resource. It's a win-win... you can't beat it," Rogers said.
When asked about the Lumberton School District consolidation plan with Lamar County, Rogers said he thinks it will help the communities.
"I've always thought maybe we were better suited to stay within the county and pull our money together," said Rogers. "Maybe there are more opportunities for our children going back to the county, I'm really excited about that."
Mayor Rogers said his team is going through the final training programs needed for local municipalities. He said they will start crunching numbers for the budget, with the needs of Lumberton's citizens the top priority.
"We are committed to making sure we grow this city, we are committed to bringing this city back to where it used to be."