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Put those who have the time and talent to use for our local economy

There are not many cities the size of Vicksburg with the number of professionals who possess the marketing talent, wit and creativity that we do.

From the team at the Downtown Vicksburg Main Street office to those who work in the tourism industry, particularly those at the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, to the creative folks at the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, to those who work to promote the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s programs, the events at our four casinos, and those who attract tens of thousands of people to Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi, Vicksburg is blessed with those who know how to promote and market the best our community has to offer and what our community can do.

It is just one of the reasons why our local tourism economy has thrived and become our economy’s number one industry.

But, with the economic slowdown and restrictions placed on gatherings and business operations such as parks, museums and the closing of casinos, the energies placed in enticing people to come to Vicksburg has become far less important.

Just last week, the VCVB announced it was furloughing employees and trimming 30 percent from its operating budget. When city employees were put on rotation schedules and some departments temporarily shuttered, part of the Downtown Vicksburg team was sent home.

But, now is the time to call that team together. It is time to turn their attention, their talents inward instead of outward.

At a time when our local businesses must first depend on us — the local residents to survive — promoting them, their services and their merchandise has never been more important.

There have been individual efforts by the team at the chamber and the VCVB to promote restaurants, but there is far more to our locally-owned business economy than just restaurants.

Just imagine what this team could do if given the direction, the leadership and the combined resources to tell the story of what Vicksburg and Warren County’s businesses have to offer to every man, woman and child in this and neighboring counties.

If we are hoping for a quick bounce in the economy when restrictions are lifted, then we need to invest the time and money to give that bounce the very best chance. We have the talent and they have the time. Don’t continue to cut their staff and services. Instead, put them to use.