Shelving study does no good

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 21, 2008

Knowledge and understanding are worthless if they remain on a shelf.

Not until knowledge turns into action, or understanding leads to a plan for getting things done do either have value.

Natchez received some good information in the First Impressions community assessment conducted by a team of experts several months ago.

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The goal of the group was to provide the city with an unvarnished view of how a group of visitors viewed the community. We will examine several key findings over the next several days in a series of articles.

The study’s results were, for the most part, not terribly surprising. Such observations rarely are.

Most of us know ourselves fairly well. Even if we tend to overlook our flaws, we know they’re there if we stop and think about them.

For the First Impressions study to provide any long-term value to our community, it cannot simply be put on a shelf. It must be studied and discussed to find areas that require a call to action.

But perhaps the biggest fallacy in such studies is to assume the government must lead the charge. While the government has its place, government rarely makes fundamental changes without massive citizen involvement.

For change to occur in Natchez and the rest of the Miss-Lou, citizens must put their heads together and their arms and legs into action and get busy.

Merging resources is key. Eliminating barriers created in the past is vital. But perhaps most important is a willingness to remain open-minded and to work together to improve the first impressions. The results could make our community better for visitors and residents alike.