We need to focus on plan for future

Published 12:41 am Sunday, April 23, 2017

Our community’s population decline continues, but it should not define us or cause us to give up hope for the future.

The decline in population of communities such as ours is not unique to us. A great number of small, relatively rural communities have been shrinking over the last 20 years as residents migrate toward more urban or suburban areas.

But rather than dwell on the people we have lost, we must work together to wisely plan for our future.

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First and foremost, we must continue efforts to attract new and high-quality jobs to our area. Increasing the number of employed people in our area will be like a rising tide that lifts the entire community.

Employed people will buy groceries and cars. They will visit our doctors and hospitals and generally contribute to the local economy.

Natchez-Adams County was woefully behind the times a few years ago when a state economic development official said bluntly that our community was not just not in the economic development game, but we were not on the field or even the stadium.

That led to the formation of Natchez Now and Natchez Inc. While no huge car manufacturers have been landed since the groups began, our community is in the game again and competing.

While it may not be as quickly as we would all like, the Natchez Inc. team will soon make contact and earn an economic hit.

We’ll need several hits in a row to begin turning the tide of dwindling population, but hope is not lost as long as those of us still living in the Natchez area and committed to the future remain optimistic.