To help land further industries, back EDA

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

Natchez has begun the new year with good news as economic development officials announced a new industry could soon be locating at the port.

The deal with metal fabrication company Venco &045;&045; which could be finalized in two weeks &045;&045; would be a boon in many ways for Natchez and Adams County, which have been bleeding manufacturing jobs for the past two years.

In addition to bringing at least 50 jobs, the company would be a new tenant at the port, whose business has suffered with International Paper’s closure.

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This deal &045;&045; which EDA officials said they have been working for the past

nine months &045;&045; also validates the support Adams County Supervisors have given to the port. Last fall during budget hearings supervisors reiterated the

need to continue funding operations at the port, despite opposition to a tax increase.

In the end, the only tax increase passed, supervisors said, was to help fund port operations.

Just as importantly, though, the deal validates the work of the EDA &045;&045; and reminds us we all need to get behind that organization as our leader in economic development.

It can be frustrating for all involved that such work necessarily goes on behind the scenes &045;&045; frustrating for the officials who can’t explain their work and for residents who don’t see the tangible results until the end.

If indeed this deal comes to fruition, we are starting the year on a much better note than the last, when in January International Paper announced it would close its mill.

We must continue to pledge to work together to ensure this good news will not be the last for 2004.