Celebrate, then make it happen

Published 12:05 am Friday, October 5, 2018

Natchez’s grassroots plan to revitalize downtown can now claim it’s an “award-winning” plan.

And all of the people involved — from public officials to volunteers to citizens who shared invaluable ideas — should be proud of the latest accomplishment.

The plan has been named the best project in the state of Mississippi by the American Planning Association.

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But the real question, the real challenge that the city must confront is not to get caught up in the accolades so much that we forget a key lesson — plans that are never enacted are wasted opportunities.

The downtown plan contains some great ideas and the structure it puts on paper should serve as a framework on which our community can build a truly great infrastructure for tourists and residents alike.

But the plan requires action and that action requires money.

The City of Natchez and the community must find ways to save funds in order to invest in the community.

That likely requires looking for ways to reduce city overhead to help fund some of the needed projects.

The city had a great resource which former Mayor Jake Middleton’s administration framed up in the lease of city property to Magnolia Bluffs Casino.

In a couple of months, the casino will mark its six-year anniversary. Each year, the casino has dropped more than $1 million in the city’s coffers as part of the lease.

Imagine how much of the award-winning plan could be completed if that $6 million had been invested wisely.

Let’s celebrate the award, as it’s deserved, but let’s also keep pushing ourselves to make the plan a reality, before a speck of dust settles on it.