Tourists aren’t here to see mildew

Published 11:37 am Friday, February 23, 2007

Spring Pilgrimage is only a few weeks away. Soon the grass will begin to turn green and the azaleas will blossom — hopefully right on cue.

But despite the impending signs of spring, something more ominous is lurking at the one-stop shop for all tourism things, the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

A couple of months ago the bookstore inside the facility was closed after employees noticed a musty smell that may or may not have been caused by mold and mildew.

Email newsletter signup

The exact cause depends upon whom you ask.

The city has attempted to play down the trouble, at least at first. Employees who work in the building and people familiar with the building are genuinely concerned, however.

In fact, concerns over the building have existed since the building was first constructed.

The place has been plagued with water leaks since the ceremonial ribbon was cut on the center.

Despite much repair work, leaks persist.

Interestingly, Carothers Construction Co., which built the building, has been the subject of much legal turmoil over other construction projects in the state. The company was found guilty of fraud involving one such project last year.

Although no one has any evidence yet that the leaks at the Natchez building are caused by poor construction, that possibility lingers.

The City of Natchez should launch a full, independent investigation of the building.

If the problems are due to shoddy construction techniques or planning, the city should take Carothers to court to recoup the repair costs.

Having tourists tramp through a potentially hazardous building isn’t hospitable or wise.