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Press Releases

Danny Box, Ph.D., Director, Greene County Economic Development Department

Official Statements

For Information please contact the Greene County Board of Supervisors at

(601) 325-7565


Rawleigh Bradley


Old Leakesville factory to be demolished in early 2023, paving way for something new

by: Cory Johnson

Posted: Dec 23, 2022 / 09:10 PM CST

Updated: Dec 23, 2022 / 09:10 PM CST

LEAKESVILLE, Miss. (WKRG) – The landscape of Leakesville will be changed for good when a decades-old factory is demolished next month, but leaders hope a new development will fill the footprint. The bid for the demolition of what locals mostly know as the “old factory building” on Main Street was awarded this week to Southern Recycling and Demolition of D’Iberville for $419,000.  It marks the end of debate on what to do with the building that remained constant as local leaders came and went through at least four election cycles. Basila Manufacturing opened in 1946 by Basil and Frances Basila. The couple moved to Leakesville from Washington, D.C. to open the garment factory after Basil retired from the Army. The opening was supported by a state bill to spur industry after the Great Depression and World War II. The 127,000 square foot plant was sold in 1973. It later housed a guitar manufacturing plant and then a furniture company before largely sitting empty for the past 13 years. Since 2009, many ideas for the plant have been entertained. At one time, it may have been outfitted as a training center for homeless veterans to learn new trades, served as a juvenile detention facility, converted to a retail shopping center, or sold to private investors. Nothing ever panned out. The building continued to be an eyesore for many county leaders while it brought no tax revenue and the county, or the Town of Leakesville at one time during a lease agreement, continued to pay the insurance and utilities on the building. When Danny Box was hired as the county’s economic development director in January 2021, he was tasked with advising the board of supervisors on the factory’s future. “It was obvious to me from the first step inside of it that it was in a condition that just needed to be demolished. It had been let go,” Box said. “But if it was even in good condition, it was difficult to market. We were going to have to find somebody that needed that very specific kind of building.” Walk-throughs of the building found, in part, asbestos needing to be removed and the deteriorating roof worsened after Hurricane Zeta in October 2020. Once the decision to demolish was informally reached, the county needed to find funding. In April, the governor signed a bill netting $600,000 to the county to help cover the demolition costs. County supervisors contracted in September with Pickering Firm of Biloxi to perform the pre-engineering and oversee the demolition. Southern Recycling and Demolition of D’Iberville was awarded the bid Dec. 19 to demolish. The $419,000 bid was lower than anticipated but added costs will also be added to pay the engineers and repair any damage to roads and utilities and address any other issues during demolition. A pre-demolition meeting is scheduled for mid-January with the work expected to begin soon after. “It’s pretty much unanimous that it needs to go, that it will improve the aesthetics of the town. There’s just not any real opposition to that, so I think it’s gonna be a real positive thing,” Box said. There’s no decision on what will be done with the lot once it is vacant. Box wants to conduct listening sessions and engage people in the county to form a vision and future plan for the site. Another $600,000 is supposed to be added to county coffers after an earmark added by Mississippi’s congressional delegation to the $1.7 trillion federal omnibus spending bill passed Friday. The supervisors hope it can be used to develop the site for future economic activity. “I hope we can develop a shared vision. I want to learn what the public would like to see there. I want to give consideration to some of the needs in the county and how that site might be able to be used to meet those needs,” Box said. Workers of the Basila Manufacturing factory in Leakesville during the 1950s. (Courtesy: Miss. Department of Archives & History) History of the “Old Factory” Information collected from the Greene County Historical Museum and archives of the Greene County Herald 1946 – Basila family moved to Leakesville to open the garment factory. It provided unique economic opportunities, particularly for women, in Greene County after World War II. 1973 – Basilas sell factory. August 1996 –  Ribbon-cutting held for Peavey Electronics, attended by Eddie Van Halen. The signature product of the factory was Van Halen’s “Wolfgang” guitar. 2003 – Peavey Electronics vacated the building. The company began outsourcing much of its manufacturing outside of the U.S. September 2003 – Value Line, Inc. announced it would relocate from Arkansas and move into the factory during a ceremony attended by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. It promised 125 good-paying jobs. In exchange, the county did not charge the company rent. February 2009 – Value Line legally evicted after months of county supervisors asking company president Hal Kidd to vacate the building. At the time of the eviction, the county said the company had less than a dozen employees and did not perform needed maintenance on the building. July 2011 – Board of Supervisors explores the potential of a training facility to teach homeless veterans skilled trades with Jones Jr. College and Greene County Vo-Tech. June 2012 – Supervisors approve a corrections officer to do a walkthrough of the building to examine potential for a juvenile detention center. October 2012 – County solicits bids for sale or lease of the factory. No bids are sent. November 2012 – Abandoned property in the building is sold off. 2013 – No concrete offers made after request for bids. April 2015 – County announces it will again solicit proposals to sell or lease the building. June 2015 –  Habitat for Humanity says it is interested in opening a ReStore in the old factory, in-line with Leakesville Mayor George Perkins’ vision to open a retail shopping center in the building with an anchor like a discount or grocery store.  March 2018 –  Town leases building from county for $7,500 per year to pursue revitalization and retail development. Other proposals rejected by the board included $20,120 from L&D Scrap of Laurel to tear down the building for the raw material and  $65,051 from Al and Jolean Roberts to tear down the center and build the two remaining parts into businesses. Wayne County developer Arthur Sturdivant withdrew an offer of $151,200 to purchase the building and land after he said he felt tension and indecisiveness from the supervisors. July 2019 – County looked into grant funding to renovate the factory. March 2021 – Town of Leakesville and Greene County agree to end 12-year lease agreement. May 2021 – County looks into state grant funding to fund economic development at the site. February 2022 – Water tower and dust suppression system sold and removed from the site. April 2022 – County receives $600,000 in allocation from state legislature to move forward with demolition. September 2022 – County contracts with Pickering Firm to oversee the demolition process. December 2022 – Bid awarded to Southern Recycling and Demolition of D’Iberville for asbestos abatement and demolition December 2022 – $600,000 allocated to Greene County in federal spending bill for “demolition and rehabilitation” of the factory.

Basila Mfg. Employees

Workers of the Basila Manufacturing factory in Leakesville during the 1950s.
(Courtesy: Miss. Department of Archives
 & History)

Greene County World War II Casualties

Here are the names of those honored Greene County citizens who gave all on the field of battle during World War II.


On Thursday, November 10, the Greene County Board of Supervisors will host a Veterans Day program at the front of the Greene County Courthouse at 9:00 AM. During the program, we will remember and honor our World War II veterans. The Board of Supervisors and Veterans Service Officer, Sue Turner, will present a solemn reading of the names of these from Greene County who made the ultimate sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.


If you are a descendant of someone on the list, please come help us pay tribute to your ancestor. If you know people who have an ancestor on the list, please share the information about the program and invite them to attend on November 10th.


  1. Talmage Brewer

  2. Bruce B. Byrd

  3. Jeff D. Byrd “Pender”

  4. Wilfred H. Byrd

  5. Autha Cooley

  6. Uriah L. Crocker

  7. Royce O. Dunnam

  8. Vernon C. Fairley

  9. Woodrow Hartzog

  10. Henry P. Harvison

  11. William Helton

  12. Randolph R. Hillman

  13. Clinton F. Hinton

  14. William Boykin Holder

  15. Heidle James Smith

  16. Louis Keller

  17. Edgar Perry Reed “E. P.”

  18. Coleman Ott Ulmer Jr.

  19. Thelbert D. Lambert

  20. Cyrus Laton Jr.

  21. Robert W. McLeod

  22. William F. Morris

  23. Jack Neely

  24. William C. Roberts

  25. Dan D. Smith

  26. Robert M. Smith

  27. Elizia Trotter

  28. Jefferson F. Williams

  29. Warren Glenn McInnis

  30. Paul Patterson

  31. Lewis E Redditt “Pap”

  32. George Churchwell Jr.

  33. Alton Dale Smith

April 2022

Greene County Board of Supervisors:

With great joy and appreciation, the Greene County Board of Supervisors learned during Senator Dennis Debar’s legislative briefing to the board on Monday, April 18 that, pending Governor Tate Reeves’ signature, 1.8 million dollars will be made available to Greene County through a bill passed by the Mississippi Legislature near the conclusion of the recent 2022 legislative session. These dollars will be designated specifically for asbestos abatement at the “Old Factory Building” in Leakesville and for converting and repurposing the “Farmer’s Market Building” into an Emergency Operations Center that will house Greene County Emergency Management operations. The Board of Supervisors thanks Senator Debar for his tireless work in the Mississippi Senate on behalf of the citizens of Greene County, and they sincerely appreciate his consultation with the board prior to the 2022 legislative session.


Greene County Economic Director, Danny Box:

Greene County Economic Development Director, Danny Box, summarized Senator Debar’s report to the board by saying, “while we still await the signing of the bill by Governor Reeves, the good news shared today demonstrates what can be accomplished when elected county officials and those elected to represent us in Jackson work in unison for the common good. During the just-ended 2022 legislative session, Senator Debar devoted himself to search for funding for these two projects after first working with the Board of Supervisors prior to the session to establish a list of priorities. Today, we learned how that cooperation, along with Senator Debar’s efforts, will soon pay dividends.”


Greene County Receives State Support for Industrial Property Site Development Leakesville, Miss. (February 16, 2022) — The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) recently awarded the fourth round of Mississippi Site Development Program grant funds. Greene County was one of 13 counties in the state to receive funding in this round. The Greene County Board of Supervisors was awarded a $50,000 “Ready Site” grant. Funds will be used to complete environmental due diligence on a 415-acre property along Highway 57 referred to as the Greene County Rail Site. “Greene County leaders are making great strides in planning for commercial and industrial development,” said Danny Smith President of the Greene County Board of Supervisors. “We renewed our commitment to economic development by hiring Danny Box as economic development director in January 2021, and again by further evaluating and developing quality, shovel-ready industrial properties”. The Greene County Rail Site is in the southwest portion of the county along State Highway 57, adjacent to the Canadian National rail line, and served by Singing River Electric. The grant funds will help complete the Phase I Environmental Assessment, Cultural Resources Assessment, Wetlands Delineation, Threatened and Endangered Species Evaluation, and soil and topography detailing of the property. “Initial desktop review shows the site has potential for industrial development,” said Danny Box, economic development director for Greene County. “However, the last thing we want to do is market a property we know little about,” said Box. Greene County also recently received a Cooperative Competes grant from Cooperative Energy and the 11 Member distribution cooperatives it serves, including Singing River Electric. The $25,000 Cooperative Competes grant will be used as a portion of the local match required for the Mississippi Site Development Grant program. “We’re grateful to MDA and to our partners at Singing River Electric and Cooperative Energy for choosing to invest in the site development in Greene County,” said Box. “Outside grant funds and our Supervisor's commitments to economic development will allow us to proactively determine the limitations and opportunities presented at the site and continue to grow.” Late last year, Greene County announced the location of Cutting Edge Meat Company (CEMCO) in the Greene County Industrial Park. The new industry, which recently opened, represents a $1.35 million corporate investment and has created approximately 20 new jobs. “With the location of CEMCO, the Greene County Industrial Park, north of Leakesville, is nearly full,” said Smith. “We are excited at the growth of the industry within our county, but we want to be prepared for the next opportunity, and investing in proactive site development will do just that”. The Mississippi Site Development Program was created in 2017 through funding from the state Legislature. The competitive application-based program assists public or private non-profit economic development organizations or local governments with preparing site-ready locations to attract new industry and private capital investment to the state. This is the first time Mississippi Site Development Program funds have been awarded in Greene County.


Jackson, Miss. – Governor Tate Reeves today announced the state of Mississippi is investing nearly $25 million in site development projects throughout the state. Site development grant funds made available through the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the RESTORE Act are assisting local economic development entities in their efforts to spur economic growth by attracting new industry to competitive, shovel-ready sites. “Shovel-ready sites are a top priority for companies seeking a new location,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “By investing in these sites today, we are laying a foundation upon which companies can quickly locate, expand and create jobs for future generations of Mississippians.” The MDA recently awarded a total of $1,637,983 through its Site Development Grant Program for projects in the Ready Sites and Premier Sites categories. Ready Sites require a minimum of 20 highly developable acres, and the site must be work-ready within six months and must be capable of having utilities on site within 12 months. Ready Sites are eligible to receive up to $50,000 in funding. Premier Sites require a minimum of 100 acres and must-have attributes that distinguish them from other properties, such as being in high-demand locations, having large-scale, "mega"-development acreage, or having significant utility infrastructure already in place. They also must have a labor force able to attract the intended market. Premier Sites are eligible to receive up to $250,000 in funding. Those awarded funding include: Ready Sites Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce – $25K for completing environmental due diligence at Cleveland Industrial Park Economic Development Authority of Jones County – $50K for drainage improvements at Howard Industrial Park Greene County Board of Supervisors – $50K for environmental due diligence at the Greene County Rail Site Harrison County Development Commission – $28K for broadband installation in the North Harrison County Industrial Complex Marion County Economic Development District – $50K for environmental due diligence and clearing at the Columbia New Generation Park Walthall County Board of Supervisors – $49,983.20 for clearing and designing and building an entrance at the U.S. Hwy. 98 Site Yellow Creek State Inland Port Authority – $50K to complete environmental due diligence and clearing and grubbing at the Boothe Property Development at the Yellow Creek Port Premier Sites Community Development Foundation – $250K for construction of a building pad and an expansion pad, and initial access road construction at The HIVE Business Park Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission – $250K for environmental due diligence at Site #1 at Port Bienville Industrial Park Madison County Economic Development Authority – $250K for clearing and grubbing at the Madison County Mega Site Panola Partnership – $85K for engineering/design for an elevated water tank at Panola County Airport Industrial Park Rankin First Economic Development Authority – $250K for construction of a building pad at the East Metro Center Rail Site at the EMC Industrial Park Smith County Economic Development District – $250K for infrastructure improvements at the Smith County Industrial Site The MDA also has committed $11,642,589 in Site Development Grant – Select Sites funding. The Select Sites program was created in 2021 to increase the number of highly competitive industrial sites in the state that are available and ready to meet prospective companies’ needs. Twenty of the state’s top publicly-owned industrial sites were evaluated by Greenville, SC-based Strategic Development Group, which was contracted by the state’s electric utilities. Of these sites, the following have been invited to apply for Select Sites funding, based on current funding availability: Select Sites Belwood Industrial Park, Adams County – $1,825,977 to complete levee construction and make drainage improvements Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex – Site B, Warren County - $1,368,000 for stream mitigation, drainage improvements, water, and sewer system improvements, and design entrance improvements I-59 South Site, Jones County – $553,600 for access roads and clearing I-59 Supply Chain Park (at Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport), Jones County – $3,402,858 to upgrade sanitary sewer capacity; construct a building pad and complete intersection modifications NorthStar Industrial Park, Oktibbeha County – $679,775 for wetlands permitting and mitigation; clearing, grubbing, and grading; and developing an all-access road Springs Industrial Park, Marshall County – $346,875 to thin and clear trees University of Southern Mississippi – The Garden, Forrest County – $3,465,504 for clearing, grubbing and grading, and construction of an access road Governor Reeves also has approved the NorthStar Industrial Park for ARC funding and invited the site to submit a full application for $2,719,102 in ARC SAAW funding. RESTORE Act funding in the amount of $8,927,940 also is assisting three projects with site development needs. The projects approved for RESTORE Act funds, administered by the Department of Environmental Quality, are: Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport – $4,180,000 for site development work at a 241-acre economic development site at the airport Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission – $2,547,940 for engineering/design and site development work at Site #13 at Stennis International Airport Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission – $2,200,000 for site development at Hancock County Tech Park at Stennis International Airport “MDA commends each of these communities for taking the initiative to ensure their sites are competitive and ready to meet the unique needs of companies across a wide range of sectors,” said MDA Interim Executive Director Laura Hipp. “Mississippi is an ideal place to do business, and the further development of these industrial sites is yet another attribute we can add to our strong portfolio of competitive business advantages.”


The Greene County Board of Supervisors is pleased to learn that their Economic Development Department, led by Danny Box, completed a successful Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Site Evaluation Grant application which resulted in a $50,000 award to Greene County. The board will use the grant funds to continue due diligence studies at a 415-acre site next to the Canadian National Rail Line and South of McLain in the Leaf Community. The MDA grant combined with the county’s recently awarded $25,000 Cooperative Competes grant will allow the Greene County Board of Supervisors to move closer to its goal of having a site ready to market for industrial development. The Greene County Board of Supervisors acknowledges that these due diligence studies are a slow process, but the steady progress toward their completion is encouraging. The board sees today’s awarding of the MDA grant as a tangible sign of that progress. The board has confidence that these efforts and small victories of today will, in the future, bring positive job creation results to Greene County.

From the Director of the Greene County Economic Development Department

March 16, 2022 I am Danny Box, and my family, on both sides, goes back at least six generations in Greene County. My parents were both born in Greene County – my mother in the Avera community and my father in the Winborn Chapel community. I have never hesitated to tell new acquaintances that I am from Greene County, and I advocate for this unique place at every opportunity. I am proud to call it my home. I feel a strong sense of loyalty to Greene County, and I know that here is where I belong. Greene County public schools supplied me with my primary and high school education. I started school in the late 1960s in one of the county’s first fully integrated classes and graduated from Leakesville High School in 1981 before county school consolidation. Eventually, while working and building a career with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), I attended the University of Southern Mississippi where I earned three degrees culminating in a Ph.D. in Sports Administration. After retiring from the USDA in December of 2019, I spent all of 2020 on my small hay and sweet corn farm in the Winborn Chapel community in the southern part of Greene County. In late summer 2020, I saw the notice the Board of Supervisors placed in the Greene County Herald seeking applicants for an Economic Development Director. First, I was pleased that the board saw the value in hiring someone to focus on economic/community development for Greene County. Second, after consideration, and prayer, I decided to apply for the position. At the conclusion of the application and interview process, I was thankful the board felt I was a good fit and offered me the job. Economic development resulting in the expansion of current business and the creation of new business is a goal aspired to by practically every county and municipality nationwide. Therefore, the competition to attract that development is fierce. So, I enter the job with no illusions that it will be an easy task. What I have committed to do is make a legitimate effort for Greene County and to do that by effectively and accurately promoting the county. Now, after one year in the position, I am fully engaged in working to promote the county and have invested considerable time in the following priority areas: Finding a site that offers Greene County an opportunity to market for industrial development. With the cooperation of both the Greene County Board of Supervisors and the Greene County Board of Education, I have started the process of due diligence studies on sixteen section in the Leaf community South of McLain. Establish a relationship with the current business community currently operating in Greene County. We want to partner with them and look for opportunities to help them become more successful. Reach out to prospects for locating new enterprises in Greene County. Do this while thinking “outside the box” while looking ahead and planning for what might position the county for future successes in economic development. I believe what we accomplish in these three areas will have a direct impact on our ability to successfully improve the overall conditions of the county. With a set of common goals derived from a group of involved county citizens, we can better pull in the same direction. The result, I believe, will be the improvement of life for all citizens of Greene County. The yearning to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the county is a worthy desire. I believe it can unite us in a collective effort.

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