Officials optimistic about visitor center funds

Published 12:17 am Tuesday, June 6, 2017


NATCHEZ — While state lawmakers tabled a decision Monday regarding the Natchez Visitor Reception Center’s funding, City of Natchez officials say they are confident the center will receive state funding.

Mayor Darryl Grennell and Tourism Director Jennifer Ogden Combs spent Monday at the capitol in Jackson meeting with legislators about funding for the city-owned center, which also serves as a state welcome center.

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The Legislature is currently in a special session to set budgets for the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Transportation.

The state has appropriated money for the visitor center through MDOT’s budget and passed down the funding to the City of Natchez through a grant administered by the Mississippi Development Authority.

Grennell said Monday he was “extremely optimistic” the visitor center would receive state funding.

While the city has received $150,000 in previous years, it is more likely $100,000 will be appropriated this year.

“The feedback (from lawmakers) for the most part was positive, especially on the Senate side,” Grennell said. “I think we are going to get something. I’m not sure if it’s going to be the $150,000. I think we are going to get something like $100,000.”

Combs said Monday’s conversations with legislators were positive both in terms of the current funding need and the long-term future of the center.

“It was productive, and we have (had) some good conversations about the long-term,” she said.

The Legislature is expected to wrap up the special session today.