The State of the City, coming July 21
Published 11:00 am Sunday, July 10, 2022
We are quickly approaching the middle of July, and it’s hard to believe we are almost at the halfway mark of our time in office – and it’s almost time for another State of the City event, to be held on July 21 at the Municipal Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. This will be an opportunity to review our accomplishments of the past two years, while re-committing ourselves to keeping our Natchez Renewal going even stronger into the next two years.
In preparing for the State of the City, I see this as an important time of evaluation, a time to ask ourselves key questions: How are we doing? What goals have we set? Which of these have we met? Which of these goals are still left to accomplish? And over the course of the past two years, what things have taken place that have resulted in new opportunities, and with them new goals?
The scorecard I use closely follows the seven points of the Natchez Renewal, which itself was born during a time of challenge, a national pandemic and economic downturn brought on by covid. It is important that we go through these points, asking key questions so we can understand how are we are doing in each area.
- Help Business and Tourism Recover. Job creation is the centerpiece of the Natchez Renewal. So how are we doing? What is the economic outlook for Natchez with regard to job growth, economic development, and tourism? We will check the facts.
- Workforce Development. Building and sustaining a solid workforce is critical to our ongoing economic growth. Where do we stand? What does the future hold?
- MED Natchez. Medical Economic Development is important to Natchez, building a healthcare HUB that can provide the care necessary for our city to grow. What has been accomplished? Is there any good news in our future?
- Recreational Renewal. We’ve been talking a lot about this over the past two years. But what exactly has been accomplished? Are good things happening? How does the future look for our parks and facilities, and our ability to serve our community?
- Build a Safe City. Addressing crime and fostering a safe environment for our children and families is critical to the ongoing success of Natchez. So what are the numbers? Have we made any progress? Is crime up or down? Are we headed in the right direction?
- Foster Unity in our Community. One of the most important goals of the Natchez Renewal has been to move toward a more united Natchez, overcoming the divisions of our past. Good words – but what really has been done? Are we making progress?
- Fiscal Renewal. Two years ago we set out to catch up on back audits, balance the books, and make sure the city was fiscally healthy. So what is the report? Is there good news to share about the finances of a city that has recently weathered a national pandemic and is currently dealing with what many are already calling a national recession?
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We have a lot of questions to answer, and we have much to contemplate as we prepare for the future. The State of the City will be an important “half-time” event. I encourage everyone to take part. Our successes, our challenges, goals met, goals yet to be met, opportunities on the horizon that call for bold action… it’s all part of keeping our Natchez Renewal going. Because Natchez Deserves More.
Dan Gibson is mayor of Natchez.