Forks study

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2006

to involve public

By Katie Stallcup

The Natchez Democrat

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NATCHEZ &8212; A feasibility study of the Forks of the Road site will start soon, and the city and National Park Service plan to involve the public.

The study will determine whether the site, currently owned by the city, meets the criteria to join the park service, Superintendent of the Natchez National Historical Park Kathleen Jenkins said Wednesday. In order to be adopted, the site would have to show potential and be feasible to administer, among other requirements.

The city and park service entered into the study together in order to determine the best group to run the site, Mayor Phillip West said.

The park service and city will hold about three public meetings at points throughout the survey process, Jenkins said. At the meetings, they can educate the public on the survey, get feedback and keep in touch.

Mangi Environmental, the contractor based in Virginia who won the bid to survey the land, will start work in the next few weeks, City Grants Coordinator Brett Brinegar said.

&8220;The survey will give the park service an idea if they&8217;re interested,&8221; Brinegar said.

&8220;It will also give us boundaries of the land. We need that information even if the park service doesn&8217;t want to take it over.&8221;

The study is being funded by an appropriation from the U.S. Senate, she said.

After the contractor finishes the study, they will present a set of recommendations for future management, a way to determine the best thing for the site, Brinegar said.

A kiosk now stands on the site of the former slave market.

The park service will not make plans for the site until they have the results of the study, Jenkins said, but some ideas have been suggested.

&8220;It&8217;s a very small site,&8221; she said. &8220;Development will be very limited. My personal thoughts are that it would not be inappropriate for a memorial.

&8220;It is a site of extreme tragedy. It has a lot of meanings.&8221;