Empty sites represent future of cityPublished 12:08am Sunday, May 5, 2013
Driving past some of the great titans of Natchez’s industrial heyday can be downright depressing — if you only look backward.
Yes, it’s sad that International Paper left Natchez. The plant and the company were good to Natchez for approximately 50 years.
When it closed, it was simply an economic decision for the company. The pain and suffering Natchez-Adams County felt was also felt in the pocketbooks of area residents and businesses alike.
The same can be said for Johns Manville’s long-shuttered roofing materials plant on Liberty Road or the former Armstrong Tire and Rubber factory.
Vacant factories abound, but Natchez shouldn’t get too discouraged. It’s not just our city that has them. Abandoned factory buildings dot the American landscape.
These monuments to our once proud industrial past shouldn’t discourage us any more than seeing an old mule collar in an agricultural museum. You see, once upon a time that mule collar may have represented the vast majority of our population’s means of living.
Eventually, those farmers turned to factory workers.
Those factory workers, like America itself, can retool themselves, retrain their brains and find a new means of supporting themselves. It’s the American way.
In the same respect, those once hallowed factory halls can be repurposed or razed entirely to make room for a new industry.
Either way, the tearing down and rebuilding or repurposing is a way of life in America. Natchez is lucky to have those sites, as ugly as they may seem sometimes.
Yes, they represent our past, but they also represent our future. Our future is bright as long as we don’t just stare at the past and cry over what we’ve lost. We must focus on the future. If we do that, collectively, that future will be bright.