Leaders need to be careful with IP land

Published 12:03 am Friday, October 3, 2014

The Adams County Board of Supervisors’ approval of the demolition of two of the buildings at the former site of International Paper Co. is good news for Natchez.

The county bought the property approximately a year ago from Rentech, which purchased the site in 2008 from IP.

Rentech’s proposal to construct a coal-to-liquid fuel plant never materialized.

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Adams County’s purchase of the property was a good move. The property consists of approximately 478 acres that for more than 50 years was the center of our community’s industrial economy. IP closed its plant here in 2003 and changed the way of life for many in Natchez in doing so.

Like valuable and limited port space along the Mississippi River, the former IP site is a precious county asset. Industrial sites that large are rare, particularly those with excellent rail and river access.

We applaud the county’s work to get the property ready to present to a suitor. At the same time, we hope the county’s decision makers are very particular about to whom they consider selling or leasing the property, or before they decide to divide off portions and sell it. Part of its value is its size.

Making certain any new owner or tenant is in a position to make good on promises and plans it makes is the best way to ensure Adams County residents get the return they deserve on the $9 million investment in the property.