Efforts to drive much-needed renovation, investment and development along city’s waterfront can’t wait

Published 9:40 am Friday, March 17, 2017

The possibility of an ad hoc city committee to focus on the development of Vicksburg’s waterfront is tremendous news.

That the idea, the future and timing of the discussed committee must wait until after the upcoming municipal elections is not welcomed news.

We appreciate Mayor George Flaggs’ thought that the reformation of a riverfront development committee — once a mainstay in city government — might appear as a political move ahead of June’s election.

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But it is our opinion — and that of others — that the time has long come and gone for someone, some group to drive much-needed renovation, investment and development along the city’s waterfront.

Vicksburg Main Street, the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce and the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau all do a wonderful job in their areas of expertise, and each would bring great ideas and value to this committee — but Vicksburg’s waterfront needs its own committee, its own advocate, its own group to fight for what is needed, the money needed for development.

The structure of the riverfront development committee is as important as having the committee in the first place.

Having representatives from the public and private sector, along with governmental and business advocacy groups is crucial. The development of Vicksburg’s waterfront must be part of an overall strategy that includes economic development, business interests and is focused on improving the overall experience of our residents and our visitors.

Vicksburg’s downtown has seen significant growth in new development, new businesses and more is on the way.

The Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce has welcomed a number of new members over the past year and the VCVB has continued to expand the city’s marketing reach and helped recruit thousands of visitors each year.

Plenty of exciting and positive things are happening in Vicksburg and the formation of the waterfront development committee is yet another positive step. It just can’t be a step that we wait too long to take.