The voters have spoken

Published 12:23 am Sunday, November 8, 2009

The voices of voters in Natchez and Adams County were loud and clear last Tuesday on recreation. Voters want a new recreation complex and they want it quickly.

The nonbinding referendum on the city and county entering into an agreement to fund and build a recreation complex in Natchez passed by an almost 80 percent margin.

An 80-20 margin of victory is huge in any election, but especially so in this particular election.

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But no matter how clearly the voters of Natchez and Adams County spoke, their job is not done.

Last Tuesday’s vote was not a vote that would tell the board of aldermen and supervisors to finance the complex and break ground tomorrow. It wasn’t even a vote that guarantees a complex will ever be built.

It was simply a litmus test. A way for the local government to gauge what the citizens wanted.

They are still under no obligation to ever build a complex, even though almost 80 percent of the citizens want such a facility.

And that’s where the citizens’ next job comes in. They have to continue to let the aldermen and supervisors know they want recreation for the area’s youth.

It is a sentiment that is echoed by Natchez recreation director Wilbert Whittley. On Friday night, while the Ferriday High football game I was covering was at halftime, I slipped off to my car to check the score of the Natchez High game against Hattiesburg.

The game was at halftime and Whittley, who is one of the radio announcers for Natchez High football, was talking about the vote and recreation complex.

Whittley called on citizens to continue to let their elected officials know how much they want a recreation complex.

He told his audience to continue to call, write letters and basically annoy those who make decisions. He said the citizens need to keep recreation in the officials’ minds so they’ll not drag their feet when it comes to a recreation complex.

Whittley is right. It’s not enough for the citizens just to make their voices heard with their votes. They need to literally make their voices heard through phone calls and letters to their elected officials.

We don’t need to let the recreation complex issue slide to the back burner like it has so many times before. We need to keep it in the front of the minds of those who make the decisions in Natchez and Adams County. The issue is too important not to follow through on. Voters must continue to demand.