Gibson: ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’

Published 7:33 pm Sunday, March 20, 2022

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Just a few weeks into the job of being Mayor, I had the pleasure of getting to work with then President of the Adams County Board of Supervisors Ricky Gray, and he told me something that really stuck: “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.” At the time, we were partnering to solicit funds to repair Morgantown Road, one of the county’s busiest roadways and without a doubt the most dangerous.

While our efforts didn’t pan out that first year with the MS Department of Transportation, we didn’t give up. Last year, I was blessed to work with Supervisor Angela Hutchins when she succeeded Supervisor Gray as President. And we decided, with the help of our lobbyists, former US Congressman Gregg Harper and Mr. Manning McPhillips, to take our mission to the Federal level. We ended the year with a December visit to Washington, and Morgantown Road was a priority during our many discussions and meetings.

Throughout the process, we were continually assisted and encouraged by District 5 Supervisor Warren Gaines and Ward 5 Alderman Benjamin Davis who both represent the affected area. These two gentlemen, along with the other members of both the Board of Supervisors and Board of Aldermen, remained steadfastly determined and committed to making sure our efforts would succeed.

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In January, when Supervisor Wes Middleton became President of the BOS, our teamwork continued. And our lobbyists, along with our Senators, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, and our Congressman, Michael Guest, never gave up.

Imagine our excitement last week when the teamwork finally paid off: $2.4 Million in funding for Morgantown Road was included in the 2022 Omnibus Spending Bill, and President Joe Biden has now signed it into law!

While this doesn’t mean that the road will be repaired overnight, it does mean that help is finally on the way. It may take as long as nine months for the funds to make their way through the federal system, state system, and arrive in Adams County. And the plans have to be updated, reviewed, approved and bid… and any additional funds that may be needed have to be allocated by the county and the city. But Teamwork truly is making the Dream Work! And I anticipate 2023 being the year the project finally happens, correcting age-old safety issues for the city’s portion of the road and a major section of the county’s portion.

Our team work with Adams County, and also the Natchez Adams County School Board, continues – as does our team work with so many other partners in our beautiful city: Natchez, Inc., the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce, Visit Natchez, NAPAC, the Natchez Historic Foundation, the Natchez National Historic Park, the Natchez Convention Center, Alcorn, Co-Lin, the Natchez-Adams Airport, the Natchez-Adams Port Authority, Natchez Rail, the Natchez Garden Club, the Pilgrimage Garden Club, … whew! The list goes on and on! And I know I am leaving out many more great partners who make such a difference in our city – our restaurants, shops, hotels, bed & breakfasts, tour companies, civic clubs, radio stations,… we truly have a wonderful community.

What a blessing it is to live and work in a place, and serve as Mayor of a city, where people work together. We are indeed making the Dream Work! Natchez Deserves More.

Dan Gibson is mayor of Natchez.