City, county lead tour of area projects

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2000

City and county officials hope a site visit from representatives of the Mississippi Development Authority Tuesday will put Natchez and Adams County on the &uot;short list&uot; for economic development.

Formerly the Mississippi Economic and Community Development Authority, the MDA serves as a liaison between prospective industries and interested communities throughout the state, Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said.

By leading the MDA team on a tour of the area’s economic assets and prospects, officials hope to relay the message &uot;we’re here, and this is what we have to offer,&uot; Smith said.

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Beginning with a tour of the Natchez-Adams County Airport, the MDA team spent the morning with county supervisors and officials visiting such sites as the Foster Mound and Belwood industrial parks, the Natchez-Adams County Port, the campus of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Alcorn State University and Government Fleet Road.

At a joint lunch meeting with city officials, Jeff Dukes, MDA associate director of new and existing industries, said the tour gave himself and the other representatives a better understanding of the opportunities for development.

&uot;I promise you we will take the message back, and I promise you we will do everything within our power to help you grow your community,&uot; Dukes said.

MDA Executive Director J.C. Burns was scheduled to join the MDA team on the site visit, but was unable to attend due to an illness.

Several city and county officials said they were disappointed by Burns’ absence, but intended to make a lasting impression for the MDA team to carry back to Jackson.

&uot;I was truly looking forward to (meeting with) J.C. Burns,&uot; Darryl Grennell, District 4 supervisor, said. &uot;But he did send representatives who promised us they would disseminate the information back to (him).&uot;

Following the luncheon at the Radisson Eola Hotel and a video presentation of the city’s plan to construct a Sprayground in North Natchez Park, city officials and the MDA team boarded a bus complimentary of the Isle of Capri casino and toured sites within the city, including the downtown convention center, community center and hotel site, the bluff stabilization project, the Natchez Visitor Reception Center, the Tracetown Shopping Center, Magnolia Mall and the Natchez Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Center.

Staff writer Emily Whitten contributed to this report.