Natchez must stop spinning its wheels

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 21, 2008

Once again, Natchez-Adams County is spinning its wheels and not actually doing much on developing recreation in the community.

The tune is similar to what we’ve heard before. Most everyone wants to do something. But few people know what exactly they want to do and, of course, no one has the funds to do anything.

We seem to be stuck in a spin cycle on this.

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Perhaps we need some kind of intervention to break through our leadership malaise.

Maybe we need to do something traditionally hated by yours truly. Let’s hire two consultants to come in and get the leaders of the City of Natchez and Adams County on the same page.

The first consultant would be baseball legend Yogi Berra.

The former Yankee is highly popular and known for his sense of humor and his ability to cut through the situation with one of his humorous verbal hits.

Berra would be able to quickly assess the situation with one of his most famous quotables: It’s like déj vu all over again.

Having Berra as a headliner would almost guarantee that a crowd would show up. He’s the star; the second consultant is really a team of people.

It would consist of Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland, Concordia, Concordia Parish Recreation District No. 3 President Marc Archer and anyone else the pair feels is useful to attend. This duo and others have proven successful in making a recreation plan and implementing it in Vidalia.

After Berra gets the crowd laughing and joking, perhaps Copeland will introduce the 1993 film “Groundhog Day.”

If you haven’t seen the film, it’s worth watching, though some of the themes are adult so be careful with young eyes. In the film the main character, played by Bill Murray, finds himself repeating the same day over and over and over again.

It happens to be his least favorite day too, at least at first.

Eventually, he realizes that he holds the power to change what’s wrong in his life. He does so and the repeating spin cycle is broken.

Then as Berra heads out the back door, Copeland, Archer and others can — hopefully — help Natchez-Adams leaders sit down and agree on a plan for what our community needs in the form of recreation, why we need it and then worry about funding it.

Our mistake of late is worrying about the bill before we know what we want to buy, or why we want to buy it.

Creating a new recreation complex has two massively important — but slightly different — benefits.

Recreation can just be a local, quality of life undertaking or it can be aimed at that, plus economic development. Or maybe we want both?

Understanding the goal will weigh heavily into what type of complex our community needs to build.

Do we just want improved facilities to offer exactly the same recreational opportunities that we offer right now? Or do we want to expand what we offer our residents?

Do our children deserve “good enough” facilities or do they deserve great ones?

The answer to that question will tell us much about where our community’s goals lie. Are we more interested in saving a dollar here and there or in investing that dollar into our children’s future and, perhaps, into our area’s economy?

We need to be able to answer that question and we need some traction on the recreation issue soon so we can stop the spinning wheels.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or