Mississippi Development Authority requested to help with EDA

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 14, 2009

NATCHEZ — A letter sent to the Mississippi Development Authority Friday could be bringing assistance to the Natchez-Adams Economic Development Authority.

EDA Chairman Woody Allen said the letter, which was sent from the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce’s economic development committee and EDA, asked representatives from the MDA to come to Natchez to meet with local leaders to find ways to improve the local EDA.

In January the Adams County Board of Supervisors cut funding to the EDA citing a lack of economic development in the community.

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While funding was later reallocated, both city and community leaders called for changes at the EDA.

But since January, no official action has been taken.

“It’s going nowhere,” Allen said of progress with the EDA. “We need to do something.”

Allen said while no date for the meeting has been set, he feels it’s critical for the EDA, city and county boards to meet.

“We cannot continue to do nothing,” he said.

Allen said he has been contacted by the MDA and asked to supply copies of the Berger Group’s study, which analyzed the local EDA.

Chamber President Debbie Hudson, before the letter was sent said she first spoke with Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton and supervisors President Henry Watts and received their support in contacting the MDA.

Wile Watts could not be reached for comment, supervisor Mike Lazarus said since the EDA is essentially an extension of the MDA, the MDA should be able to offer unique insights as to which EDAs across the state work well.

“We need their help,” Lazarus said. “I’m pushing for this. We can’t fix this unless we can talk and they can show us what we need to work on.”

Middleton is also eager to meet.

“We’ve been sitting on this long enough,” Middleton said. “If something isn’t working lets talk about it. Doing nothing is hurting the city and the county.”