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Bases are loaded for start of 2012

In 2011, Natchez and Adams County loaded the bases.

Not even the opposing team needs rose-colored glasses to see that 2012 simply awaits the cleanup hitter and a fat one right across the plate.

But any good baseball fan knows that even Casey can strike out.

So keep your rally hats on, keep cheering, and let’s keep our eyes on the ball.

For the first time since I moved to Natchez eight years ago, the community saw tangible economic development news in 2011.

Few will argue with the fact that Elevance and Enersteel feel more real than Rentech ever has. Feelings have already turned to reality for the workers of both new industries.

Even fewer people would propose that former efforts to lead a successful economic development agency were better than the current setup of Natchez Inc.

Now, with three guys on base, we need to put runs on the board.

But last year brought along a coaching change too, one that took effect Tuesday when three new county supervisors joined the Adams County board.

I’m supportive of the change and optimistic about the coaching abilities in place.

But even a good coach can disappoint. I know; I’m an Ole Miss graduate.

So as we turn our eyes to the man at the plate — Mr. 2012 — we, the citizens of Adams County, must stay as involved as ever.

We must demand openness from government officials and ask questions when we wonder.

Though it would be nice to see elected boards make decisions without the dirty looks and yelling we’ve become accustomed to, too many quick votes with no discussion will smell like a back-room dealing and open meetings violation.

Instead, we hope the new county board and the city board will remember the importance of including the public — however few people may show up — in the discussion.

Up for continued discussion should be the plans for the long-awaited, much-talked-about recreation complex.

Many of us hope to see a groundbreaking soon, yet still others in the community don’t want their taxpayer dollars spent when times are tough.

Both sides must continue to be a part of the discussion.

And the interest and question asking that developed out of an ineffective economic development arm must continue at the same fevered pitch that started Natchez Inc.

Though the agency’s first-year successes deserve applause, we hired them on for more than just a few good hits.

So as we begin a new year and dream of home runs, remember that the fans — or maybe just the residents — are just as crucial to a big win as the cleanup hitter.

Residents, taxpayers, voters — call yourselves what you like — must realize that the success of a city is determined by you, not your leaders.

Gripers live in communities full of gripes. Optimists live in communities with a bright future.

You decide.


Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.