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Business dubbed ‘Project Silver’ to bring 200 jobs to downtown Natchez

NATCHEZ — A new business prospect code named “Project Silver” that is expected to bring approximately 200 jobs to downtown Natchez got a unanimous vote of approval during Tuesday night’s Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting.

Aldermen voted to authorize Mayor Dan Gibson to enter into a grant agreement with the Mississippi Development Authority in order to receive no more than $260,000 in MDA grant money on behalf of the city for the purpose of completing infrastructure related to “Project Silver.”

In making the proposal to the board of aldermen, Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said the funds would be used to demolish the old A&P building at Franklin and N. Wall streets and to upgrade a parking lot adjacent to an old Regions bank building on the block.

In introducing the proposal, Russ told aldermen that Project Silver is “probably the worst kept secret in town but it still must remain confidential due to the competitive nature of that business.”

Russ said the MDA had already written a letter awarding Natchez the $260,000 Development Infrastructure Program grant and all that was needed was for the board of aldermen to pass a resolution authorizing Gibson to act on behalf of the city in receiving the grant.

“The DIP application will be between the city and the Mississippi Development Authority,” Russ said. “The city will manage that … The amount of the DIP is $260,000. … What we are asking of you today is that you pass a resolution … to authorize and approve the mayor on behalf of the city to enter into a grant agreement with the Mississippi Development Authority in order to receive grant money on behalf of the city from the Mississippi Development Authority in the amount not to exceed $260,000 for the purpose of completing infrastructure related to ‘Project Silver’ and thus enhancing economic development through the creation of jobs.”

Russ said the grant requires a 10% local match, up to $26,000, that could come from multiple sources such as in-kind work, payment of legal fees and the prospective company’s contributions.

The motion made by Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard and seconded by Ward 4 Alderwoman Felicia Irving passed unanimously.

“Right now, it’s still a confidential prospect. We hope to have an official announcement in the next 30 days,” Russ said. “It’s estimated to generate at least 200 jobs and make a significant investment in downtown Natchez.”

Sabrina Robertson contributed to this report.