Rosalie progressing at snail’s pace

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 3, 2015

Two of Natchez’s most historic sites — sites that served as cornerstones on which our complex community was built — remain largely tarnished and unfit for the historical importance with which they each hold.

Finding a phrase to put in perspective the incredibly slow speed at which the National Park Service has moved out on preparing the Fort Rosalie site on Canal Street is difficult.

It’s been far slower than watching paint dry, as the old saying goes. A snail’s pace could have made two or three trips up and down the Natchez Trace by this point.

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Plans to clean up the Fort Rosalie site are moving about as fast as the continental drift about which geologists regularly talk.

Rosalie is where European involvement in Natchez first began. The National Park Service took ownership of a key section of the area approximately 10 years ago.

It’s taken years to remove a few of the dilapidated houses on the site. Now, practically on the eve of the city’s 300th anniversary in 2016, the site still sits largely untouched, aside from the occasional lawnmower. The NPS suggests the delay is caused by a lack of funds.

While the NPS may feel Congress has tied its hands — and purse strings — Natchez deserves better.

Natchez’s leaders need to press harder on both NPS officials and our Washington representatives to find funds necessary to make Fort Rosalie accessible to the public.

The same goes for the Forks of the Road site. Purported to be the second largest slave market site in the South before the Civil War, the site is supposed to be included in the Natchez National Historical Park soon, but like Rosalie, the project is moving at the pace of a glacier.

This needs our community’s immediate attention.

At the end of the day, both sites are better protected in the hands of the NPS, but we’re all frustrated, that the protective hands appear momentarily crippled.