Casino isnt best option for land

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 15, 2006

Three citizens confronted the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen last week seeking the city leaders&8217; vision for developing the city-owned land at the foot of Roth Hill.

The citizens&8217; point was on target: the future of public property needs to be discussed with the public.

Unfortunately, since a few of the citizens have also been involved in a legal dispute over the city&8217;s sale of the former pecan factory site, their message may be discounted as simply sour grapes.

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Doing so would be killing the messenger without weighing the importance of the message.

The question of what to do with the Roth Hill site should not be left to the cloak of a backroom, executive session deal.

Word on the street is that one option for the property would bring a second casino to Natchez.

While another casino in Natchez would certainly bring some jobs, which might be politically beneficial to city leaders, we question whether that would be the best use of the property.

A casino development would lock up one of the city&8217;s most beautiful pieces of property with something locals may not use and that will likely not be an attraction for tourists.

Whatever goes at Roth Hill should be a complement to the city&8217;s convention center and soon-to-be built convention center hotel.

Ideally, the development should be something that serves the dual role of drawing visitors to the city and being useful to locals as well.

Unless the city has evidence that the key to increasing tourism is adding a casino to one of the most picturesque spots on the riverfront, we hope they&8217;ll explore others options &8212; publicly.