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Time to tour downtown opportunities

Possibilities and Opportunities — they’re all around us — whether we choose to recognize them or not.

And our own special spot in the world, Natchez and Adams County, is full of them. Many of those possibilities and opportunities can be found right downtown on Main and Franklin streets!

On Nov. 9, there will be an exciting event in Natchez to spotlight empty buildings in our downtown area.

The Possibilities Tour, “Turning Deserted Spaces into Dynamic Places,” will market available buildings to a statewide and regional audience.

The Tour is sponsored by Natchez Inc., Alcorn State University, Mississippi Development Authority and Mississippi Main Street Association. Twelve vacant buildings on Main and Franklin streets will be showcased for repurposing in the form of a sale or lease for new or existing businesses or groups seeking a new home.

This concept supports the ongoing entrepreneur initiative of Southwest Mississippi.

Recently, the entrepreneurship nonprofit Kauffman Foundation ranked Mississippi the fifth best entrepreneurial state in the nation, with a 2012 startup rate of 430 per 100,000 adults.

We rank ahead of states like California, New York, Illinois and Texas that have higher population, greater concentration of wealth, more Fortune 500 companies, other major firms and capital to fund startups. Supporting this Mississippi designation as a strong entrepreneurial state, Natchez has expanded its services and resources to small businesses through the Entrepreneur Academy, the Entrepreneur Explosion, Startup Weekend and other activities.

Local professionals have donated their time and expertise to encourage the education and success of our area’s entrepreneurs.

In addition to the guided tours of featured vacant buildings by their agents/realtors, this event will coincide with others that attract tourists and residents throughout the region such as the Natchez Chili Cook-off, Angels on the Bluff, Antiques Forum, Second Saturday, Startup Weekend and Veteran’s Day activities, all of which will be happening around downtown Natchez.

The Possibilities Tour, “Turning Deserted Spaces into Dynamic Places,” will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 9, and the starting point will be the offices of Crye-Leike Stedman Realtors at 114 Main St.

For more information, contact Chris Hinton with Natchez Inc. at 601-445-0288 or Ruth Nichols with Alcorn State University at 601-870-6000.

Ruth Nichols is special assistant to the president — off campus development for Alcorn State University.