Fort Rosalie plans continue

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — The National Park Service is moving forward with plans to develop Fort Rosalie.

NPS Superintendent Kathleen Jenkins said the Park Service is accepting hazardous material assessment bids for the seven acres of land it owns along Canal Street.

“Our intention is to remove all the deteriorated houses on the land we own this year,” Jenkins said.

“Once we get (the houses) cleared, we can create a real visitor’s experience.”

The Park Service is still working to acquire land around the site, but property owners are reluctant to sell.

Nevertheless, Jenkins said hopes to develop the site into a 30-acre park with green space, picnic areas and walking trails are very much alive.

The Park Service also wants to transform the log cabin that formerly housed Fat Mama’s Tamales into a tourist destination featuring colonial exhibits.

“We really don’t have anything in Natchez where people can go and learn about the 18th century experience,” Jenkins said.

“That cabin is a remnant of a tourist attraction in the 1930s that purported what the French fort would like,” Jenkins said.

“It’s important because it’s one of those early Natchez tourist attractions, and it also tells us what the city’s tourism imagination was like in the 1930s.”

Jenkins said the Park Service is seeking $175,000 in grant funding to develop concept plans for the site.