Mahmudiyah’s mayor wants to chart a new course and believes a signature project for his community would be welcome news.
Mayor Muayid Fadil Hussein Habib is viewing several possibilities including a Vocational Technical College, a soccer stadium, and a vegetable and fruit processing factory.
"My hope is that we can convince Iraqi and American officials to invest here in a facility that will have a meaningful impact for decades to come," Muayid said. "These projects would employ local people not only in the construction phase, but would benefit our area and help the local economy as a lasting legacy," he noted. He was also hopeful that a facility like a Vocational Technical College would encourage other small industries to open in his community, such as a new cement plant or metal fabrication shop.
"We need to boost our local employment opportunities that will benefit not only Mahmudiyah, but the surrounding villages." He was hopeful farmers in his areas could qualify for low-interest loans so they could expand their agricultural opportunities including fish farms, poultry and beef operations. "If we can help them with the start-up costs, they will be able to repay those loans with the profits. It’s another way to help the local economy," Muayid said.
David Schmidt with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently met with Muayid to discuss those possibilities, as well as ongoing work in his city. Schmidt encouraged the mayor to work through his Iraqi officials and the Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team to determine what was possible and to identify funding.
Ongoing work includes repairing the community’s water treatment plant, rebuilding Mahmudiyah’s Market, school renovations, a new primary healthcare center, and electrical distribution upgrades.
Regarding such projects, Muayid asked that local contractors be utilized. Schmidt said his office is interested and willing to schedule a meeting with local contractors to provide them training on how to prepare bid proposals -- the documents and references that are required. He also suggested that someone in the mayor’s office attend so they could offer that information to others in Mahmudiyah. "It shows them the steps necessary to qualify for the work," he added.
Schmidt complemented the mayor on his interest in economic development. "This is a definite priority for all -- business and job creation is something we’re all interested in," Schmidt said.
"We need new projects offering long-term benefits," the mayor noted. "This is how we’re going to build a new Middle East. Such efforts will encourage trust and friendships we’re all looking for."