It took vision to see beauty in land

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 16, 1999

It takes true vision to look at a barren piece of chalky land and see beauty. But such vision is exactly what leaders in Vidalia had when they first began planning the Vidalia Riverfront Project back in 1992.

After seven years of planning, the first phase of the project — the Vidalia Landing — got one step closer to becoming a reality Wednesday as community leaders took part in a ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the beginning of construction.

At the ceremony, former Vidalia Mayor Sidney Murray Jr. dedicated the project to the residents who were around in 1938, when the town picked up and moved west from the Mississippi River to allow for the channel to be widened.

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We cannot think of a more fitting dedication. The current leaders and planners of the Vidalia Riverfront Project show the same strength and toughness in driving the project along that those old residents had in surviving the move away from the river.

In the first phase, called the Riverwalk, workers will construct a pathway following the old route of Carter Street in the old town. Phase two will include lighting, landscaping, parking, benches and a new river gauge. The master plan for the Vidalia Landing includes an amphitheater, gateway center, boat ramp, restaurants, hotel and conference center and commercial properties as well. The plan is truly unique and will add to the economic infrastructure in the Miss-Lou.

And the start of construction means the Miss-Lou gets an early Christmas present in the form of dollars being spent.

The riverfront project proves that, with a little vision and fortitude, wonderful things can come out of barren, flat, chalky land.