The State of the City, Coming July 21 – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper
We’re fast approaching the middle of July, and it’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through our term – 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 achievements over the past two years, while committing ourselves to maintaining our Natchez renewal even stronger over the next two years.
In preparing for the state of the city, I see this as an important moment of evaluation, a moment to ask key questions: how are we doing? What goals have we set ourselves? Which of them have we met? Which of these goals still needs to be accomplished? And in the past two years, what things have happened that have led to new opportunities, and with them new goals?
The dashboard I use closely follows the seven points of Natchez Renewal, which itself was born during a time of challenge, a national pandemic and a covid-induced economic downturn. It is important that we walk through these points, asking key questions so that we can understand how we are doing in each area.
- Help businesses and tourism recover. Job creation is the centerpiece of Natchez’s renewal. So how are we? What are Natchez’s economic prospects for job growth, economic development and tourism? We will check the facts.
- Workforce development. Building and maintaining a strong workforce is essential to our continued economic growth. Where are we ? What does the future hold?
- MED Natchez. Medical economic development is important to Natchez, building a healthcare HUB that can provide the care our city needs to grow. What has been accomplished? Is there good news for our future?
- Recreational revival. We’ve talked about it a lot 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. Fighting crime and promoting a safe environment for our children and families are essential to the continued success of Natchez. So what are the numbers? Have we made progress? Is crime up or down? Are we going in the right direction?
- Foster unity in our community. One of the most important goals of Natchez’s renewal has been to evolve into a more united Natchez, overcoming the divisions of our past. Good words – but what was really done? Are we making progress?
- Tax renewal. Two years ago, we set out to catch up on past audits, balance the books, and make sure the city was in good financial shape. So what is the relationship? Is there any good news to share about the finances of a city that recently weathered a national pandemic and is currently facing what many are already calling a national recession?
We have a lot of questions to answer, and we have a lot to think about as we prepare for the future. The State of the City will be an important “half-time” event. I encourage everyone to participate. Our successes, our challenges, our goals achieved, our goals to be achieved, the opportunities on the horizon that call for bold action… it’s all part of maintaining our Natchez renewal. Because Natchez deserves more.
Dan Gibson is mayor of Natchez.