City gets new Preservation America Community designation

Published 1:03 am Sunday, June 8, 2008

NATCHEZ — The city is receiving a prestigious designation that can be used as a marketing tool and a means of acquiring heritage tourism grant money.

The nationally recognized Preserve America Community designation will be presented to city officials at 10 a.m. on Monday at the Natchez Visitors Center.

The status derives from the Preserve America program which stems from the White House.

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A city with this status can apply for grant money for heritage tourism, and city officials see this as a way to help fund the interpretive center they want to build at the Forks of the Road site.

Flying in specifically to present the designation is Deputy Undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Bob Young.

Young is heavily involved in the program.

Though dozens of other cities will be receiving the designation this year, only Natchez will have a presentation ceremony.

Young came to Natchez in April to discuss with city officials the building of the interpretive site.

He was the one who initially made the suggestion to apply for the Preserve America status in order to apply for grants through the Preserve America program.

Brett Brinegar, grant coordinator for the city, said Young was so pleased with Natchez and that’s why he wanted to personally present the status.

“He was just really impressed with the city and wanted to single us out in a way,” Brinegar said.

Mayor Phillip West, who coordinated Young’s visit, said the same thing about Young wanting to come back.

“We’re a special place and Bob Young visited us and he was very impressed with our community and with out Forks of the Road project and he took a liking to us,” West said. “It’s an honor for them wanting to be present to give the designation.”

Brinegar said several tourism officials will speak at the ceremony.

“It will just be a short ceremony talking about the importance of heritage tourism,” Brinegar said.