Natchez, it’s time to let our light shine!

Published 9:00 am Saturday, March 11, 2023

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Lately, it can be quite depressing to read the reports of political controversies happening within our state, not to mention all over our country. As the headlines continue to carry the news of argument and division, it’s time Natchez to let our light shine.

In contrast to those reports, we in Natchez-Adams County are working together!

Case in point: the cooperation occurring between the city and the county is remarkable. Last week, the Adams County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $2.1 million renovation to Chester Willis Stadium at Liberty Park. Kudos to the supervisors on this visionary step forward! It shows their commitment to our youth, and it also demonstrates their vision for more athletic events for Natchez.

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If one looks back over the past couple of years, it’s clear that both the city and the county have been moving forward in the right direction, in sync with each other, and this is refreshing indeed! Millions of dollars in historic bond projects are now under way in both the city and county to improve roads and streets, including our collaboration on the soon-to-happen renovation of Morgantown Road.

Similarly, both the city and county are moving forward with vast improvements to city and county parks. The city has already replaced all playground equipment at our six city parks. Many more upgrades are under way: bathroom improvements, renovation of ball fields at Duncan Park, new tennis courts, renovation of the Duncan Park Golf Clubhouse, and we are currently in the final stages of renovating the historic North Natchez Youth Center. The county is launching similar efforts to upgrade its parks. Monday’s action on Chester Willis Stadium is just one example. Supervisors are doing a lot to improve recreational facilities for our children, and I applaud them.

In addition to improvements to streets, roads, and parks, the city and county are working hard to make our airport shine. Millions of dollars in grants have been secured, mostly thanks to the leadership of Airport Director Richard Nelson and the commissioners appointed by the county to oversee airport operations. Because of these efforts, we will soon cut the ribbon on a completely renovated runway! Improved lighting is now funded and about to become reality as well, and the city and county are working together as never before to recruit a commercial air carrier.

Collaboration has meant good things for our port and industrial park also. Completion of the Bellwood Levee, a liquid loading dock for the port, improvements to Natchez Rail – these are significant steps forward. And through our combined lobbying efforts, Natchez-Adams County now has great opportunity on the horizon. Economic development – collaboration in workforce training – new job growth – it’s happening in Natchez!

As I’ve said many times, it’s all about Unity – the key word in both Community and Opportunity. And we are experiencing this in Natchez. Working together is what it’s all about!

With all of this positive news, Natchez, it’s time to let our light shine! While others continue to argue and divide, let us continue to be that community that represents the best of our state, a Mississippi of the present and future, where working together moves everyone forward together, in great and historic ways!

Thank you to all who are working so hard every day to make great things happen in our beautiful city on the highest bluff. We truly are blessed. Because Natchez Deserves More.

Dan M. Gibson is mayor of Natchez.