Chamber, EDA look to relocate

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 13, 2001

NATCHEZ – The Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce has submitted a proposal to the City of Natchez to lease space in the convention center.

Chamber and city officials met Thursday morning to discuss the proposal and the chamber’s space needs. The amount the chamber would pay to lease the space has not been determined, said chamber Chairman-Elect Fred Middleton.

Being located in the convention center &uot;would put the chamber in a position to get information about our members in the downtown area to visitors,&uot; said chamber President and CEO Laura Godfrey.

Email newsletter signup

Out-of-town visitors to the chamber office would get to see the convention center firsthand, Middleton said. &uot;And as a result, they might get groups from their communities to come here,&uot; he said.

But those who attended the meeting confirmed that the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority has also expressed interest in leasing space in the facility.

The possibility of the chamber leasing 750 square feet and the EDA leasing 1,000 square feet has been discussed, Middleton said. &uot;We (the chamber) really couldn’t work with less space than that,&uot; Middleton said.

EDA Executive Director Michael Ferdinand is working on a proposal to lease space in the center, said EDA Chairman Woody Allen. &uot;And we made one trip to see (the center space) early on, but that’s really been it,&uot; Allen said.

&uot;The (EDA) board is still evaluating&uot; the matter, Ferdinand said. &uot;It’s up to them.&uot;

&uot;Eventually, I think one or both of them (the chamber and the EDA) could end up in the convention center, although where they would go has not yet been determined,&uot; said Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith.

But Smith, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said that getting the EDA or the chamber into the convention center is not a high priority right now.

&uot;I don’t think anybody is in a rush&uot; to move the EDA or the chamber into the center, Smith said. &uot;Getting the (rest of the facility) to the point where we could hold conventions is our first priority.&uot;

Godfrey said she would like to see both the EDA and the chamber have a presence in the convention center &uot;because we work well together.&uot;

With the Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau, the EDA and the chamber in one location, &uot;we could share our resources and assets and perhaps not have duplication of efforts,&uot; said chamber Chairman Sim Mosby.

But Godfrey said the most important thing is that nonprofit organizations such as the EDA or the chamber – and not retail stores – are located in the space.

To have stores located in the center &uot;would impact the retailers we already have in the downtown area,&uot; Godfrey said.