VCVB move to depot makes sense

Published 1:01 am Sunday, September 18, 2011

Simply, the move makes sense.

The Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau’s flip-flop last week to continue with initial plans to move into the 104-year-old Levee Street Depot is a positive step toward attracting more people to downtown.

The plan is for the VCVB to join Vicksburg’s Main Street program in moving into the depot, with the remaining space for a transportation museum.

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The VCVB in August discussed not moving in, citing concerns over space. The discussions came just months after the historic Mississippi River flood that saw 4 feet of muddy water sit in the former Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Station for weeks, though the water damage turned out to be minimal.

Then, in a 40-minute closed-door meeting last week, the VCVB board backed up again, deciding this time to go into the depot. Plans are for the VCVB to move from the current home on Old Mississippi 27 across from the military park to the depot soon after renovations are complete. Those renovations are expected to be completed next month.

The plan now calls for Main Street on the third floor, with the VCVB and the museum on the second floor.

We could not be happier with the VCVB’s reconsideration of using the building that has been — in addition to a railroad depot for more than 60 years — a restaurant and bar, retail space and even residential space.

The City of Vicksburg is positioning the City Front area as a major tourist hub. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ MV Mississippi IV interactive and interpretive center sits across Levee Street from the depot, and plans are for a walking bridge over the road to connect the center with the depot museum. The floodwall murals and the Art Park and Playground at Catfish Row are already draws for residents and visitors.

Having the two organizations in a tourist hub, where information on city attractions, restaurants and night life is readily available, will enhance visitors’ experiences in the River City.

The possibilities for the old depot are endless. The transportation museum will prove to be a big hit. And having two organizations whose task is to promote the city — and especially downtown —under the depot’s roof will be a boon to our community. It makes sense.