• 70°

We are working to keep economy open, strong

The year 2020. It’s been a year like none other.

Just a few months ago, when we were in the depths of a national quarantine, and the closing of our world’s economy, it felt like normalcy would never return. Throw in a mixture of violence, political unrest and a polarizing national election, and many would say they are glad to see 2020 come to an end.

But let’s not forget to celebrate the victories. Natchez — in the midst of this pandemic-ridden year, we have bragging rights. Even as I write this article, our economy is open and strong. Local restaurants, shops and other small businesses that many counted as permanent casualties are now greeting customers again — many in record numbers.

Look around Natchez and you will see signs of hope — vacant buildings coming to life again with new business and activity. Loss Prevention Services is busy readying the old Regions Bank Building for new life — and 200 new jobs. One major tourist destination, Dunleith, closed for the past two years, is in the final phase of a million dollar renovation and will be reopening in January — another 60 jobs are on the way there.

A local realtor just reported to me this week that the inventory of available real estate is down by a third since July. This is one of the healthiest economic indicators I know of, unheard of during pandemic times.

Natchez — we have reason to celebrate! But now more than ever we have got to keep our economy open and strong. We have come too far to go backwards now.

All across America, the news of economies beginning to close again is frightening. Washington State and California have already announced their intentions to close. This cannot happen here. And in Natchez, it will not happen under my watch. We as a community, the city and county working together, must do whatever it takes to keep our Natchez Renewal moving forward.

The virus has proven deadly, but not just in terms of the cost to human life. Let’s consider the number of businesses that it has killed… the number of families, marriages, homes, schools and churches now affected… the countless Americans who are now facing unemployment, poverty, foreclosure and eviction. Let’s consider the loss of livelihoods, life savings, retirement accounts… and in many parts of our country the loss of hope itself.

Thank goodness this is not happening in Natchez. And let us as a community do all we can to make sure it doesn’t happen.

As we approach the Christmas season, let us not forget that this is the season of hope and renewal, a time of love and peace. It is also a season for being kind, and treating one another as we ourselves would like to be treated.

If you don’t like wearing the mask, take comfort — none of us do. But let us not lose sight of the bigger picture. We are blessed beyond measure in Natchez. Let’s do all we can to keep it that way.

Do the right thing. Do the smart thing. And let’s keep Natchez open.

Dan Gibson is mayor of Natchez.

Business

Mayor: Silver Street raising and dock plans moving forward

News

Tree lighting event is Saturday in Natchez

News

Former Natchez Alderman David Massey dies at 72

News

Stewpot ready to serve needy on Thanksgiving

News

Saturday high-speed chase began in Louisiana, ended with crash in Natchez

News

No print edition of The Democrat on Friday

News

Natchez school board cancels bid opening for new high school due to COVID-19

News

5 Miss-Lou residents die of COVID-19 over weekend

News

Remains found in Natchez neighborhood

News

The Dart: Natchez resident loves music

News

Coroner: A Natchez woman dies with COVID-19 Sunday

DEVELOPING NEWS

Suspect in high-speed vehicle chase arrested in Natchez

BREAKING NEWS

Natchez Police investigating Saturday shooting that injured two people

News

Coroner: Two Ferriday men died with COVID-19 Saturday at Merit Health Natchez

News

Natchez freedmen and women largely funded Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C.

News

Adams County coroner loses 25-year-old granddaughter to COVID-19, urges compliance with health guidelines

News

35-year-old Ferriday resident dies with COVID-19 as cases, hospitalizations continue rising

News

‘American Pickers’ star Mike Wolfe picks Natchez

News

COVID-19 numbers spike locally just before holidays

News

Norm Yvon resigns as lead administrator of Cathedral School

BREAKING NEWS

ACCS falls to Leake Academy in MAIS Class 5A state championship

News

Second suspect arrested in Tuesday armed robbery

Business

Carpenter Newsmedia to acquire Lake Charles American Press

News

Longtime Natchez police officer Otis Mazique dies at 68