We can still learn from ESOP process

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

We’re a better community, a stronger community because of this.&uot; That’s how former chamber of commerce chairman Fred Middleton put a brighter spin on the decision by union representatives to halt efforts at an employee buyout of the old International Paper mill in Natchez.

While the decision about the employee stock option plan is disappointing, it’s important to remember the cooperation that came from this effort &045; union leaders working with the business community and with government officials.

We must continue that kind of cooperation with our economic development efforts in Adams County.

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And those broader efforts continue, with both the IP facility and beyond.

The Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority, already working on a number of projects officials can’t name, will go back to pursue some leads it was seeking before the ESOP deal came about. The paper mill’s assets can still be of great value to Natchez and the Miss-Lou, and we hope to see IP working with the state and with Natchez and Adams County officials to come to an agreement on their future.

Early on in this process, we said if the ESOP worked, it would showcase the little paper mill that could.

But we can still be &045; and we believe we are &045; the community that could.