Grants, new jobs are good news for area

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 26, 2003

The looks on the faces of those crowded around Gov. Ronnie Musgrove on Friday morning were weary.

Fearful after the news of International Paper’s closure this summer, residents and community officials gathered at the courthouse to hear what Musgrove’s big announcement would be.

And had it not been overshadowed by the loss of 640 jobs at IP, his pledge of 55 new jobs and $750,000 in grants would have made a bigger splash.

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As it was, the announcement seemed to bring little comfort to a community in pain.

But let’s step back a bit and look at the big picture.

After years with little movement in economic development &045; in fact, after more than two years without a paid director for the economic development authority &045; we now have a new industry ready to move to Natchez.

In this sluggish economy, with communities fighting for fewer expansions, that’s a major coup.

We also have a cadre of community officials on the brink of forming a regional alliance to lure industry to our five-county area.

And the grants Musgrove announced &045; most notably $300,000 to help pay for infrastructure to support industries and $200,00 for workforce training &045; will help us through this tough transition.

We know that the next few months or even years will be difficult for Natchez. But we have to accept that and get on with the struggle, knowing that the stakes are even higher now.

We’re on the right track. We can’t go back to a time when the oil business was booming or the manufacturing jobs were plentiful; there’s no use bemoaning the past. So let’s move into the future together, with a new vision for Natchez and Adams County.