Natchez's diverse range of attractions and amenities are attracting retirees, young professionals and families.
While the attractions, community events and public resources entice people from around the country to consider Natchez in their search for a new home, the town has something else to offer. With a population around 16,000 people, Natchez has small-town charm, a deep sense of history and a colorful cultural scene – things that attract active retirees and young professionals alike.
It's a mix unlike any other, says Natchez native and active member of Natchez Young Professionals Caitlin Goodman.
“I loved growing up in a small town. The people, Natchezians, are the most hospitable, generous and kind-hearted people you will meet," Goodman says. "Living in Natchez is an experience you can’t find anywhere else.”
Great Benefits for Retirees
Natchez is increasingly attracting retirees from all over the country. Natchez, a Certified Retirement Community, appeals to retirees with its history-rich culture, attractions and beautifully preserved architecture, not to mention a warm Southern climate and access to quality health care. Perhaps just as important, there are many activities to keep retirement age residents busy, from a retiree committee and ambassador program to adult educational opportunities.
Natchez holds the American Association of Retirement Communities Seal of Approval, which means the city has developed optimum opportunities and programs for retirees. These include the Spring Pilgrimage, Fall Pilgrimage, Great Mississippi River Balloon Race, Phatwater Kayak Challenge and Mardi Gras Krewes, just to name a few.
“Most retiree towns offer the same types of amenities," Clark Feiser, who retired to Natchez in 2005, says. "But I think Natchez is unique because we have the Mississippi River and so much history because we are the oldest settlement on the river.”
Numerous volunteer opportunities are available for retirees. Feiser is the volunteer president at the Auburn Antebellum Home and a driver for a meal delivery program called Stewpot. Additionally, Feiser is the director of the Natchez Retiree Partnership, which works to recruit new retirees to Natchez and offers monthly programs for retirees.
Affordable real estate and overall cost of living attracts many people regardless of age, but can be especially attractive to young professionals buying first homes, as well as to retirees who are paring down expenses. In Mississippi, people age 65 and older benefit from lower tax rates, including a property tax exemption on $75,000 of a home's value. The state does not tax retirement benefits and pensions.
“Natchez has a lower than average cost of living, while maintaining a higher than average quality of life,” says Debbie Hudson, Natchez resident and president and CEO of the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce.
Hudson says that value comes via amenities such as Natchez's warm climate, rich history, the Natchez Trace Parkway, hiking trails, shopping, casinos, fishing, golfing and beautiful antebellum homes. The organization also runs a Chamber Ambassadors program, which brings local retirees together for various community programs and events.
Opportunities for Young Professionals
Retirees are not the only ones moving to the area. Goodman says an increasing number of young adults are moving to Natchez, and local businesses are eager to hire them. With all the festivals, such as the Food & Wine Festival, and local attractions, Natchez has plenty of entertainment that appeals to this age group, too.
Six years ago, this influx of young adults led the chamber to create the Natchez Young Professionals organization, which Goodman says has helped her and her peers better connect with one another as well as get involved in their community. Local businesses host the 100-plus members each month for networking events.