Do NDDA, EDA, others have a home?

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 20, 2009

With a few balls up in the air, it’s time Natchez take a few minutes to call a play.

The Natchez Downtown Development Authority got a new — yet short — life Wednesday when the Economic Development Authority agreed to fund half its budget.

The EDA, however, is breathing via its own short lifeline, with no promise of future funding from the Adams County Board of Supervisors or the City of Natchez.

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Both the EDA and NDDA are needed when properly managed. But maybe it’s time to play team ball.

The city, which recently cut the NDDA funding, said the mission of downtown development fits under economic development.

That’s a good point to consider.

But can we go a step further?

What if NDDA, the EDA, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Chamber all begin sharing one umbrella?

All four agencies have the same baseline goal — promote Natchez, bring people and business to town.

It’s time that key players in all these agencies sit at the table and consider the pros and cons of becoming one group with several subcommittees.

The Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce already has a tourism council. There’s no reason the Chamber couldn’t play a stronger role in economic development or have an NDDA committee. The goal would be more than simply piling more work onto the chamber, but lowering the overhead required for all the various groups right now.

Combining forces could save the businesses involved from paying dues to multiple organizations, and it provides a cushion when city and county budget cut time comes around.

If we don’t do something soon, the balls may come crashing down with no one ready to catch them.