Center’s budget woes need quick attention

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 2, 2001

In less than six months, the Natchez Convention Center is expected to be open for business. As we speak, the city is looking around for the final bits of funding to finish the center.

It is a shame that funding for the entire project isn’t secured. It seems political expediency outweighed prudence when the bond funding was originally secured.

And, looking back on it, perhaps that was a good thing.

Email newsletter signup

At the time, despite years of planning and debate, the crossing the Ts and dotting the I’s on the project remained.

The city was split.

Having just gone through an extremely close Democratic mayoral runoff, the town was seething – politically.

The fate of the convention center looked uncertain. So the decision was made to just go ahead with the center’s construction despite the knowledge that, at some point, additional funding would be needed.

Given the situation, it probably needed to be done. But we sure wish we had been aware of it at the time. Perhaps some people were aware, but somehow that fact was glossed over to us.

At this point, with more than $6 million invested in the facility’s construction, we have no choice but to make the necessary sacrifices and get the center completed on schedule.

Our belief in the need for the convention center remains unwavering. The center has the potential, if professionally managed and marketed, to be one of the best things the City of Natchez has done in many, many years.

The only concern at this point is, did the city, in an effort to make the cost of the center more palatable for the masses, cut the plans too much? We think the convention center will be a fine building, but imagine what we the city would have had if we all shared the same vision for the center, rather than trying to cut deals and compromise with differing factions.