Copeland outlines city’s future

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 18, 2002

NATCHEZ &045;&045; A $6 million Comfort Suites hotel will be open on the Vidalia Riverfront by early September, and a five-star restaurant will open next door later that month.

Construction of a medical complex is also set to start soon. Meanwhile, Vidalia was approved for $3.2 million in state funds to build tennis courts and other recreation.

The town also received a $974,000 grant to build a welcome center. And $1.7 million more will be used to extend infrastructure and the riverwalk to the Riverview RV Park south of the Mississippi River bridge.

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Those were among developments at the Vidalia Landing riverfront site that Mayor Hyram Copeland detailed Wednesday in a speech to the Natchez Rotary Club.

But Copeland gives the lion’s share of the credit to Sidney Murray Jr., a former mayor who worked on the project for years, and to the people of Vidalia.

&uot;Every time I talk about this project, I think of him,&uot; Copeland said, referring to Murray. &uot;And I thank all the people who roll up their sleeves to get things done.&uot;

In all, the riverfront site &045;&045; a project whose planning started in 1992 &045;&045; will be a $25-million to $30-million investment, Copeland said.

But there are also other developments taking space in Vidalia.

A subdivision of about 60 houses in the $80,000-to-$200,000 price range will soon be built off Concordia Avenue Extension.

Work has just been completed on infrastructure for a 240-acre industrial complex.

Concordia Parish officials hope to hire an economic development director in the next six weeks. That director will be paid with proceeds from the 3.9 percent hotel/motel tax the town will now receive instead of the state.

The town is also using $6.2 million in bond proceeds to improve infrastructure throughout town. Open ditches are being covered and streets are being overlaid, and crews are 75 percent complete with sewage improvements, Copeland said.

What does all this have to do with Natchez? Quite a bit, said Copeland, for any economic development affects the entire Miss-Lou.

&uot;Everything that happens (in Vidalia) complements all of this area,&uot; he said.