Let’s move forward; be more careful

Published 12:17 am Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five Natchez aldermen took the first step Tuesday in wrestling back control over the city’s riverfront property at the foot of Roth Hill Road.

We applaud them for taking action in the matter.

Arguably the city’s most valuable piece of property, the Roth Hill riverfront land, has remained idle for far too long.

Email newsletter signup

The property has been vacant, but primed for development, since 2007 when a would-be casino developer came to Natchez with a pretty picture of a conceptual drawing and lots of promises.

The city, in good faith, but perhaps without good forethought, signed a lease option agreement with the developers.

Four years later and nothing but plans, more talk and endless excuses and delays ever materialized.

It appears that despite the affirmations early in the process that the “money was in the bank” and the development would start quickly, such talk was wishful thinking.

Many would-be casino developers have come courting Natchez in the past, but thus far only one casino has come with the finances to make a development fly — the former Lady Luck Casino (now the Isle of Capri), which has operated since gaming was first allowed in the state.

Once city leaders wrestle the land back from the would-be developers, we urge them to use caution and the expertise that they’re already paying for in their support of Natchez Inc., to handle future development prospects at the site.

The mistakes of four years ago are gone but the city should focus on making the right moves in the future.