Concordia, Natchez can link efforts

Published 12:04am Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A little more than four years ago, a frustrated business community in Natchez-Adams County came together and said, “Enough!”

After months of watching city and county elected officials bumble around with the funding of the then public entity charged with “selling” the area to economic development prospects, a meeting of the minds resulted in hiring a consultant to help reshape economic development.

The high-paid consultant basically pointed out the obvious flaw in the former EDA system — aside from tax dollars, local private businesses had no “skin” in the game and no seat at the table.

All that changed with the formation of Natchez Inc. and its private fundraising source, Natchez Now. The latter is supported by local businesses and provides approximately one-third of Natchez Inc.’s funding. City and county government provide the rest.

While Natchez Inc. has yet to produce all the jobs the area desperately needs, it’s not for a lack of trying. As a good batting coach will tell you, you’ll never make a hit — let alone a home run — without taking the bat off your shoulder and swinging it.

We remain confident that our community’s economic development structure is correct now, with a good mix of private and public funds and a whole bunch of trust and cooperation.

Across the river, Concordia Parish is working to develop a similar system to help buoy its economic development system.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, can we not put our heads together and figure out how to make the two systems work together?

Yes, some things will have to be figured out, but our community would be better served by working together than apart.