Center impact may take time, patience

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 9, 2002

Construction and contracting: $8,374,536. Furniture and fixtures: $2,472,820. City auditorium: $1,004,069. Community center: $596,316.

Marketing Natchez to potential conventions: priceless.

The numbers are in for the nearly $13 million convention center project, a project that began as a dream decades ago and finally opened last April.

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But the numbers aren’t in yet as far as economic impact &045; and so far, it seems some people still don’t quite understand the point of the center.

We’ve heard complaints from people who still don’t realize the center itself isn’t there to make money; the center is there to help infuse new money when folks come to town for conventions.

That said, it still make take a while before the convention center makes the impact everyone hopes it will.

The center still lacks a companion hotel, although the city has been in talks with developers.

And let’s face it, parking is still an issue, although city officials like to gloss over that little quibble when discussing the center.

But all in all, building a convention center was the right investment for our community.

It’s a beautiful building in a beautiful city, and we need to make sure city officials pour tremendous effort into marketing the center to groups interested in holding conventions here.

At the same time, we as residents need to be patient. The convention center has been open for just more than half a year, and it’s been open during a time of economic uncertainty in the entire country.

It may take time, but the Natchez Convention Center could emerge as a premier spot for meetings and events.

But it also takes work.