Keeping your hands out of jar is best

Published 8:37 am Friday, January 9, 2009

When a full cookie jar is sitting on the shelf, it is difficult not to reach for it.

The situation is much the same when there is free money on the line.

But the City of Natchez would be wise not to rush the Forks of the Road project just because $500,000 is hanging out there like a carrot.

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The Mississippi Development Authority is offering Natchez $500,000 for construction at the site. But the MDA has said there is no expiration date on the deal.

In the meantime, the National Park Service is considering taking over the former slave-trading site. NPS isn’t eligible to receive the $500,000.

We still think a home with the NPS is the best bet for the Forks and for Natchez, even if it means the $500,000 stays on the shelf forever.

The federal government has deeper pockets, more qualified personnel and better resources to construct a fitting historical education center at the site.

Though $500,000 sounds like a lot now, it wouldn’t go far once construction started and long-term maintenance began. Unless the MDA funds can be used to acquire additional land near the site, the best option may be to wait on NPS to decide if the Forks site can be included in the Natchez National Historical Park.

So as the city is exploring ways to utilize the money, and the NPS is doing its research, everyone needs to remember that it’s best to make decisions with your brain, not with your pocketbook.