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Use down time to plan for future and preserve past

In Natchez, the pursuit of progress and the preservation of the past are often caught in a game of tug of war. Where one group sees the promise in future developments, another group sees a threat to fragile resources.

Recently, the City of Natchez agreed to lease city-owned lands on the Mississippi River to Viking USA for a new docking facility that could be one of the many stops for the riverboat cruise company.

The area for the proposed docking facility is in the proximity of a strip of land called “Little Mexico.” The historical property holds archaeological significance because it was once part of the French Colonial settlement at Fort Rosalie.

City attorney Bob Latham said he doesn’t believe the new dock will interfere with any artifacts at the site because the dock would be out in the water and have very little infrastructure on land.

The promise of more boats docking in Natchez and the additional tourist dollars that come with them is extremely enticing given the current state of the economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If there is a silver lining to the current state of tourism, it may be that the pandemic gives leaders ample time to make plans that seek progress and preserve the past.   

Making plans for future developments while most of the world’s tourism industry is shutdown makes sense. Doing so gives the city time to position itself for future business once travelers decide it is safe to cruise again.

The shutdown also gives city leaders plenty of time to plan and consider how future developments can be accomplished without risking existing archaeological artifacts.

We hope leaders will realize the opportunity, drop the tug-of-war rope and work together to find a solution that benefits us all.