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Money available for National Park Service to take over Natchez visitors center
from Staff Reports - NEWS
May 23, 2018 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – Money is available for the federal government to take over the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

“It’s in place, and we can move forward,” said Natchez National Historical Park Superintendent Kathleen Bond.

Meeting Tuesday with Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell and the Board of Aldermen, Bond said National Park Service officials have given her assurances the funds are there.

A budget bill passed by the U.S. Congress in March includes a provision “to expedite the transfer” of the city-owned visitors center to the National Park Service, the agency that oversees the Natchez National Historical Park. The park has administrative offices and a book store/gift shop in the visitors center. The Natchez tourism facility also functions as an official state welcome center for Mississippi.

The mayor and Board of Aldermen have struggled financially in recent years to maintain the city-owned facility and sought to transfer it to state or federal governments.

Located by the Mississippi River bridges, the center was constructed in 1997 with about $8 million in mostly federal funds to be the hub of the city’s tourism sector. It’s only had piecemeal repairs and now needs to be refurbished. A report presented to the Board of Aldermen in 2016 estimated more than $600,000 worth of work is needed for the 25,000-square-foot structure.

The measure to transfer the visitor center to the federal government was embedded in the appropriations bill the U.S. Congress passed in March to complete the funding of the federal government for 2018. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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