Area still suffering from city’s decisions

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The way in which we treat our material possessions — no matter how great or seemingly miniscule they may be — speaks volumes about our character.

With that as a measurement, the City of Natchez has collectively sat back and ignored the public’s best interest in the use and development of public land.

Two glaring examples sit smack in the heart of Natchez’s downtown.

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Just steps from the end of Main Street, the Roth Hill riverfront property, which was reclaimed from the Mississippi River years and years ago for development purposes, sits idle.

The city apparently has leased it to a group of would-be casino developers who seem to be struggling to get their funding in order. The situation has been the problem for at least half a dozen would-be casino hopefuls here in the nearly 20 years since gaming became legalized in the state.

The land in question is arguable some of the most beautiful, most primed for development that exists in Natchez. Yet, so far the city’s lease has yielded only $100,000 in a lease-option payment and promises of great things to come — lots of promises.

Today the site still sits vacant and few people seem confident anything will be developed at the site anytime soon.

Just up the hill and down the bluff a bit sits the other ill-fated development decision involving then public land.

The much-discussed condo development site sits vacant with no apparent activity on the immediate horizon. In this case, rather than leasing the land, the city sold it outright.

Both sites illustrate what happens when politicians make development decisions without the intelligence and advice of professionals.

Unfortunately, as we’re learning, those decisions can have long-term, ill effects.