Hefty price worthwhile investment

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 31, 1999

It sounds like a hefty price tag: $12 million to build a new meeting center in Natchez. But the board of aldermen’s plan revealed this week involves much more than just a new place for folks to meet.

It is, simply put, a much-needed renovation and improvement on community and meeting facilities that should poise the city for growing its convention and tourism market during the next millennium.

The $12 bond proposal would include funding for three sorely needed projects: – A new convention center, to be located on a downtown city block, providing accommodations for large out-of-town conventions and trade shows. Estimated cost, $9 million.

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– A new community center, to be located in the old Service Motor Company building on Franklin Street. At two-thirds the size of the former convention center, it will provide a feasible rental space for family reunions, weddings and local functions ranging from Mardi Gras balls to revivals. The facility also will provide spillover space for the convention center. Estimated cost, $250,000.

– And renovations to the city auditorium, which seats about 700 and hosts a variety of community events, including the annual Confederate Pageant during Spring Pilgrimage. Estimated cost, $1.5 million.

The important part of this plan is that it seeks to accommodate the needs of so many groups – from small community groups to the large conventions our tourism leaders want to recruit. And the community center is a key part of the proposal.

We’re glad to see the city officials have listened to questions and concerns of citizens and have a plan to provide a much-needed service to the community, in a smart and efficient manner.

Yes, it’s a hefty price tag, but well worth the investment in our community.