Let’s get ready to welcome the Trace

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Roll out the red carpet. Natchez will welcome dignitaries for a long-awaited ceremony next Saturday to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

How long awaited? Consider that the parkway construction began as a Works Progress Administration project.

Now, 67 years later, the parkway’s last eight miles into the city that is its namesake are completed.

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And that gives us a great opportunity. Not only do we have dozens of dignitaries visiting next week, we also have a ready-made reason to publicize our community once again.

The parkway attracts more than 1.1 million local day trips to the state each year.

Finally, those trips can end &045; or begin, for that matter &045; in the City of Natchez, rather than just outside of it.

That’s expected to be a boon for our already strong tourism industry.

Consider how many people already find their way to Natchez from the Trace; that extra eight miles is another nudge in our direction.

And that leaves us with some work to do.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, with a public reception later that afternoon at Melrose.

We have a week to make sure everything is spruced up for the big celebration &045; and for the visitors to come.

So we’re asking everyone again to make sure that trash is cleaned up on streets, sidewalks and yards; that grass is cut, flowers planted and tree wells cleaned.

We have a big impression to make in a few short days, and it’s one that will last a lifetime and more.