Development often behind the scenes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Landing engineering firm Michael Baker Inc., which is opening a satellite office in Natchez this week, took about three months.

In economic development terms, that’s almost instantaneous compared to the behind-the-scenes negotiating that can take many more months and even years.

Every project is different, but many of them take great patience on the part of the negotiators working to lure them to Natchez and the Miss-Lou.

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And that, in turn, requires great patience on the part of residents.

Too often, those who are not informed complain that economic development officials aren’t doing &uot;enough&uot; to boost jobs in our area.

The problem is, what they are doing rarely sees the light of day. They host private meetings with developers and site selectors, constantly gather information and statistics for potential industries, and try to negotiate delicate meetings with local, state and federal officials.

It’s a job that requires a lot of juggling, and we need our community to support the folks who are doing it.

We have had some good opportunities recently to showcase Natchez and Vidalia, and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco is headed to Concordia Parish on Thursday for the ground-breaking for the new conference center there and for an economic development summit.

This is yet another opportunity to show that in our community, we and our leaders are helping ourselves rather than looking for a handout first.

We hope the meeting is successful &045; and that economic development efforts continue to be successful.