Local delegation visits Gettysburg

Published 11:00 am Monday, April 28, 2014

A group of seven local officials and community leaders hope a two-day visit to Gettysburg, Pa., will provide insight into developing a program to increase tourism in the Vicksburg area with the Vicksburg National Military Park as the center attraction.

Bess Averett, the executive director of Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign, who is coordinating the trip, said the visit includes a tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park, the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, and meetings with members of the Gettysburg Foundation, the auxiliary organization that helps the promote and support the park at Gettysburg.

Besides Averett, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., State Sen. Briggs Hopson, former Jackson mayor Kane Ditto, Linda Fondren and Vicksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau executive director Bill Seratt will fly to Gettysburg to meet with Gettysburg Foundation officials.

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The goal, Averett said, is to learn techniques that can be used locally to better incorporate the park and the community to enhance and attract tourism.

“We will fly to Gettysburg Monday and tour the park Monday afternoon,” she said. “We will meet with the officials from the foundation all day Tuesday and return Wednesday.

“What I hope we will be able to get information and suggestions how we can improve cultural tourism for Vicksburg by incorporating the park and the community. Vicksburg should be a hub for tourism in Mississippi.”

Averett said the trip was the result of a visit and meeting she had with members of the Gettysburg Foundation last year.

A 501 (c)(3) educational organization the Gettysburg Foundation was formed by the merger of the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation and the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg.

“They grew from an organization with 30 members to 30,000 with a professional staff of 120 people,” she said, adding the organization funded the design and construction of a $105 million, 139,000-square-foot museum and visitor center for the park.

“The foundation has been able to incorporate the Town of Gettysburg into the park, and the town embraces the park as part of the community.”


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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