It’s time to make a plan and invest in improving Vicksburg’s riverfront

Published 6:57 pm Saturday, December 17, 2016

Without the river, Vicksburg would not be what it is today.

In fact, it might not even exist at all.

Even today, a long way from the visits of mercantile ships and bales of cotton loaded on the riverfront, Vicksburg’s waterfront remains a major part of local economy.

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The Port of Vicksburg — and the industries who call the port home — employ hundreds and bring in millions of dollars of economic impact each year.

The port and the riverfront, in many cases, remain the front door for business in Vicksburg. It is also the front door — as we have said many times — for thousands of tourists each year.

Vicksburg now has five riverboats that make routine visits. They bring with them tourists from throughout the country and the world, looking to experience the grace that is a long tour of the Mississippi River.

But, we continue to report problems and images of Vicksburg’s waterfront that provide a less than graceful welcome to those visiting.

Concrete along the waterfront — right at the area where riverboats dock and passengers disembark — is crumbling.

Immediate repairs are needed, but more so than that, is a plan; a plan that shows what can be done to upgrade our waterfront to compete with those in Natchez and others along the Mississippi.

Tourism is a major industry for Vicksburg and Warren County and we must continue to find ways to enhance the experience those who travel here receive.

While the waterfront is the city’s responsibility, they need help. It would be exciting to see an advisory committee created — with representatives from the city, Downtown Vicksburg, the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce, the Warren County Board of Supervisors, the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and others — to develop a plan to enhance Vicksburg’s waterfront.

The river and the waterfront has meant a lot to Vicksburg’s past. With the right plan and investment, it would mean a lot to Vicksburg’s future.