Tourist traffic increases on newly marked routes

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 4, 2003

[8/1/03]Newly marked routes seem to have increased tourist traffic in part of Vicksburg, but gauging the full effect will have to wait until work on Washington Street is complete, said Eric Biedenharn, chairman of the board of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Traffic counts on Confederate Avenue and on Main Street, he said, support the belief that the two “scenic” routes marked in 2002 are routing visitors to downtown and other attractions instead of just the Vicksburg National Military Park on the city’s perimeter.

The report, sent to all board members and city officials, showed the results of a preliminary count taken on three days in May 2002 and two counts taken this year, one on three days in early July and one on two days late in the month.

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The Blue Tour counts were taken on Main Street near Christ Episcopal Church and showed an average of 149 vehicles per day in 2002. This count increased to an average of 562 vehicles per day in early July and 514 per day in the third counting period.

The Red Tour counts were taken on Confederate Avenue near All Saint’s School. They showed a beginning count of 322 cars per day and averages this year of 1,533 and 1,761 per day.

“I had the recount done to confirm the large increases,” Biedenharn said.

In other action at the meeting, the board:

Voted following an executive session to authorize Biedenharn to execute a quit claim deed involving a common wall at the downtown building. The vote also included the authority to complete negotiations with city officials who want to make the adjacent lot into a downtown park area.

Authorized Biedenharn, executive director Lenore Barkley and Director of Tourism Lynn Foley to complete discussions with Chandler Erlich, an advertising firm working on a new Web page for the bureau, to come up with proper domain names for the page.

Authorized reallocating part of $25,000 that had been earmarked to match city funds of $50,000. The $50,000 had been pledged for a joint advertising campaign in the event the city does not come through with its share. The reallocation would be used to buy display advertising featuring a Vicksburg calendar of events to be run in smaller newspapers surrounding Jackson.