Our fabric is starting to come together

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two years ago, Mississippi economic development experts bluntly told a group of business leaders, “You guys aren’t even in the game.”

It was a sobering dose of reality.

Years of infighting combined with a general lack of effort led to our community mostly being off the radar screens of both state economic developers as well as national site selectors.

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Much has changed in the last few years — and much continues to improve.

Our area may not be in the economic development version of the Final Four yet, competing at the national level, but we’re starting to work like a team, and, more important, people are starting to notice.

Last week, top economic developers from Mississippi and Louisiana came to our community to meet local business leaders and talk about how important it is for communities to work together.

That’s a message that our community has been preaching since the formation of Natchez Inc., last year.

The Miss-Lou Regional Steering Committee has been instrumental in getting once disparate groups to sit at the same table and find common ground.

The fact that state economic development leaders are not only willing to come to our area again, but willing to say, “You guys appear to be headed in the right direction,” is a testament to the hard work and investment that has gone into the efforts of both regionalism and economic development.

Each small part of our community may be good in and of itself. But combined, they make up an amazing fabric that makes our area of the country special.