Legislature needs to pass money for area

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sometimes the Legislature giveth, and sometimes it taketh away. And that, at least for now, is where stands a bill that would allow $10 million in bonds for improvements to downtown Natchez.

The Senate amended the bill to strike the House language &045;&045; which includes the Natchez funding as well as other bond money for various projects throughout the state. Instead, the Senate added components of Gov. Haley Barbour’s Momentum Mississippi package &045;&045; which did not pass the House the first time around.

Some lawmakers believe the Natchez provision, as well as money for other areas, will make it into the final version of the bill, which now heads to conference committee.

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We understand this is how politics works, but it is incredibly frustrating to come so close and have another setback.

After a long drought of leadership, we finally have some major plans at work for Natchez &045;&045; not only the $10 million for downtown but also another $1 million for a Natchez history museum. And the original bill also included language allowing $350,000 for the Camp Van Dorn Museum in Centreville.

Natchez and Southwest Mississippi deserve some attention from our state leaders. We have watched over the past few years as state money has helped projects in many other areas of the state, and we believe we deserve this funding.

That kind of money will be a major boost for our entire community, as our downtown is the heart of our community. Revitalizing downtown will help attract new industry as well as boost our growing tourism business.

We need legislators to add these projects back to the final version of the bill. We are counting on their support.