It’s good to be back at the table

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2011

Unpopular or unprofitable dishes don’t stay on the menu long, at least not at successful restaurants.

For an untold number of years, Natchez-Adams County’s dish was both and, unofficially, it was quickly off the menu of state economic developers.

On Tuesday, the top dog at the Mississippi Development Authority said, in a nice way, that has changed.

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As MDA Executive Director Gray Swoope said, “Welcome back to the table for economic development.”

That’s a pretty powerful endorsement by the man who leads the team responsible for brokering billion-dollar deals to help bring tens of thousands of jobs to the Magnolia State.

Swoope was speaking to members of the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce at the group’s quarterly luncheon.

The audience of his speech was fitting since it was the Chamber’s leadership that helped to bring diverse community groups and leaders together to work out the future of the area’s economic development.

Swoope was too much of a gentleman to say that a few years ago Adams County had become a place that was simply too difficult in which to work. Too many factions and groups fighting one another left a bad taste in customers’ mouths.

Fortunately that has changed, thanks to the leadership of the chamber and the common sense of the business community, who invested in the new public-private partnership, Natchez Inc.

Natchez is on the menu again, and that’s a great thing.

However, we should remember that to keep it there, our focus must remain steadfast on our customers — businesses who might seek to locate here and existing businesses that we wish to stay and prosper.