The heat is on, and the time is right

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 9, 2010

Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton apparently is a patient man, but even he can eventually reach the point of running out of the precious commodity.

That appears to be the case in regard to the much-hyped, much-delayed development plans for the city-owned Roth Hill riverfront property.

This week, the mayor began turning up the heat just a little on Premier Gaming’s plans to bring the city’s second casino development to the picturesque riverside property.

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It’s been more than three and half years since the city first signed a lease-option agreement with the first developers. The faces and names of the developers have changed, and it’s about time the city changes its attitude toward the project, too.

A lease-option is just that — a reservation if you will to be able to lease the site. Nothing has happened on the property and nothing appears eminent, either, despite continued promises.

Middleton is wise to start turning up the public heat.

It’s needed.

Being business friendly is one thing. Being a doormat and locking up the most valuable property in the city is another thing entirely.

Perhaps it can help push the stagnant project into action. At this point, developers either need to show they have the resources to make the project a reality and start construction, or the city should begin marketing the land for other purposes.

Either way, Natchez’s patience is running out.