Understanding of process helps us all

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

Wooing a company to a community takes a certain amount of wining and dining and cajoling &045;&045; it’s a dating game of sorts.

And the parties involved like to keep their relationship top secret.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, we’re lucky if we even get an &uot;engagement announcement&uot; &045;&045; as in this past week’s news that metal fabrication company Venco might locate at the Natchez-Adams County Port.

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But it benefits all of us &045;&045; not just economic development officials &045;&045; to understand the process, because you never know when we will be part of it.

First, site selectors or consultants often visit a community before anyone there knows anything about a potential deal &045;&045; so it’s imperative to keep our city looking good and be hospitable to all visitors.

Once a community makes it to the list, company representatives and economic officials begin the dance of making a deal.

It’s important at this stage that the company recognize who is in charge of economic development &045;&045; in Natchez’s case, it’s the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority; in Concordia Parish, it’s the Concordia Economic and Industrial Development District.

Those groups work closely with elected officials and other business leaders, but we need to make sure we all put our support behind the group that has first contact with companies. A show of unity can be among the most important qualities of a community looking to host industrial expansions.

As journalists, we’re bound to try to peek behind the scenes at what our economic development and elected officials are doing &045;&045; though we know it’s rare to find anyone who will talk.

But we also respect the long, tedious process of economic development &045;&045; and we urge everyone in our community to do the same.