Just doing ‘something’ isn’t the answer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 9, 2009

National treasures should be treated with kid gloves, even if the treasures conjure up unpleasant memories of the past.

Such is the case with the ongoing debate about what to do at the Forks of the Road slave market site in Natchez.

With a $20,000 grant burning a hole in its pocket, a small group is intent on doing “something” at the Forks site.

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That passion is great, and we applaud the moves made up to this point.

However, we still contend that the community needs a bit more patience.

The National Parks Service is still considering whether or not the site could be added to the Natchez National Historical Park.

As do many things with the federal government, the work has been painstakingly slow.

But that’s not reason enough to just abandon the idea and build something at the site that may ultimately have to be torn down later.

The prudent thing to do is to continue to work with the Park Service and work to get the site included in the NNHP.

The Park Service does a great job with two of the existing locations it manages in Natchez — Melrose and the William Johnson House.

We’re confident that NPS involvement is the ultimate answer on the Forks site. We just hope our leaders will resist the rush to “do something” that may ultimately be for naught.

The Forks of the Road is a national treasure, and it encompasses a chapter of American history that must be told. However, the best solution long-term for accurately and effectively telling that story is by putting it in federal hands.