Downtown plan worthy of funding

Published 12:01 am Friday, July 6, 2018

Natchez has a plan to revitalize downtown to make the area more attractive to tourists and merchants, all of which could help boost revenue.

A plan, however, is just a starting point.

To get the benefits of the plan that the city and volunteers have spent years studying and developing, that plan must be implemented and that will take work.

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Especially with a plan such as the downtown Natchez revitalization project, which is detailed in a 186-page document with six sections and seven appendages.

The revitalization plan focuses on three key landmarks of downtown, including the bluff, the Martin Luther King Jr. Street triangle and the “heart of the city” on the block of the Ritz Theater — which connects Main and Franklin streets.

The plan creates an arts district with the Broadway Street depot as a food and beverage venue and adding a park and entertainment village to the Broadway Street strip, among other aspects. Implementing such a plan will require someone to manage the process and most likely a downtown association to keep the project on track and guide the implementation.

All of that will take money.

Chesney Doyle, who oversaw development of the plan, said implementing the plan would require a minimum of $80,000 to get started and she has set a goal amount of $120,000. The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen, Doyle said, have pledged $25,000 and will consider another $25,000.

On Monday, Doyle and Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell went to the Adams County Board of Supervisors to request the county government invest $25,000 to help fund the project. Adams County would benefit from the downtown revitalization project, if the plan were successfully implemented, through the economic activity having a more vibrant, more attractive downtown could bring to the community, Doyle and Grennell said.

What is good for Natchez is good for Adams County and its citizens, and we encourage the supervisors to pitch in to help fund a downtown association to oversee implementation of the project.