City: Visit could spur Roth Hill development

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2003


&045; City officials hope that a Wednesday vote by the Gaming Commission will bring them one step closer to acquiring a second casino and developing the site at the end of Roth Hill Road.

That’s the day the commission voted to hold its next meeting May 21 at the Natchez Convention Center. The commission, which meets in Jackson, occasionally visits the gaming centers in the state but has not visited Natchez since the mid-’90s, said City Attorney Walter Brown.

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But for Brown and other city officials, the meeting is secondary to the prospect of having commission members visit the town and review the Roth Hill site as a viable place for casino development.

&uot;This is a great opportunity to bring a state agency to our town, to show them what we have,&uot; Brown said.

&uot;One of the purposes (of the gaming commission) is the implied responsibility to not only regulate safeguards, but also, where appropriate, to promote the gaming industry,&uot; he said.

City and economic development officials are marketing 5.3 acres of riverfront property at the foot of Roth Hill, plus the 1.7-acre convention center parking lot site and the old Natchez Pecan Factory building, to prospective developers.

The hope is that one day the entire riverfront &045; including a rebuilt Water Street running along the river between Silver Street and Roth Hill Road &045; will be taken up with park space and housing, and with businesses that would bring jobs and tax revenue into the city.

Having commission members visit the site not only gives them the opportunity to see that Roth Hill meets infrastructure and other casino development needs.

It also gives them the opportunity to tell prospective developer about the site.

&uot;The Gaming Commission gets many, many inquiries from developer looking for sites,&uot; Brown said.

On Wednesday, the commission approved site development for a $58 million casino in Biloxi., the Rock-N-Roll Casino, according to the Associated Press.

&uot;We hope that if a developer plans to use Roth Hill Road for a casino, then the developer would be in the same position,&uot; Brown said.