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Retirees swooping into Miss-Lou

Dan and Roxie Miller moved to Natchez in Aug. 2013 from Iowa. They wanted to be close to their son in Louisiana and since they are devout Catholics St. Mary’s Basilica was one of the biggest draws. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Dan and Roxie Miller moved to Natchez in Aug. 2013 from Iowa. They wanted to be close to their son in Louisiana and since they are devout Catholics St. Mary’s Basilica was one of the biggest draws. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Editor’s note: The original version of this story contained an error. The story has been corrected below. We regret the error and are happy to set the record straight.

By Sarah Cook

NATCHEZ — Retirees are moving to Natchez, and they’re stimulating economic growth substantially.

Clark Feiser, director of the Natchez Retiree Partnership, shared with the Natchez Board of Alderman Tuesday that Hometown Mississippi Retirement, a division of the state development authority, recertified the city as a retirement community.

With this recertification, Natchez will be classified as a retirement community for the next five years.

“Having people retire here is great for economic development because retirees buy houses, eat at restaurants, buy gasoline and so forth,” Feiser said. “It boosts the local economy tremendously.”

Since 1996, the partnership has recruited 271 households — and that number only skims the surface.

“I’m sure there are a lot more retirees who have moved to Natchez, but unfortunately some people don’t come through (the partnership),” Feiser said.

Retirees Dan and Roxie Miller moved to Natchez from Des Moines, Iowa, in the summer of 2014. With a rich history and welcoming community, Natchez enticed the couple.

“We feel like we’ve been here forever.” Dan said. “We haven’t regretted our decision to move here once.”

Dan, who is an active member of the Auburn Antebellum Home Group, the Natchez Rotary Club and American Legion, said a low cost of living and quality healthcare are just a few of the factors that encouraged him and his wife to settle in the Bluff City.

Alderman Sarah Carter Smith praised the partnership’s efforts, and said it’s crucial that Natchez maintain its status as an ideal place to retire.

“Not only does it bring people with disposable income, but it spurs other small business,” Smith said. “It promotes growth all the way around.”

Natchez is one of 20 certified retirement communities in the state. A long list of community amenities—such as quality health care, library access, low cost of living and educational opportunities—are among qualifications for certification.

“To be certified, you have to have certain amenities that retirees would like,” Feiser explained. “It’s sort of like how you would recruit an industry or business to relocate here.”

The Natchez Retiree Partnership is funded by Natchez Inc., which gives the partnership $10,000 annually.