Uniquely Vicksburg’s watefront has a bright future and Portofino’s news is a good start

Published 7:44 pm Friday, March 31, 2017

This week, people along Vicksburg’s waterfront were witness to a strange occurrence.

It was nothing supernatural, or natural for that matter, but rather a scheduling oddity.

What those along the waterfront saw were two, majestic riverboats docked in Vicksburg at the same time.

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As the weather has improved, the frequency of riverboat visits has increased, each bringing with them hundreds of visitors to the Red Carpet City.

But while the visitors have returned, and the numbers of visitors remain very strong, the continued lack of effort in improving the city’s waterfront — or the reception these visitors receive — has continued to be lackluster.

It appears now that any effort to develop the city’s waterfront, improving the curb appeal of our city to those visiting by water, will be delayed until after the city’s municipal election in June.

And, for reasons we cannot seem to get, the NRoute Trolley, purchased by state funds to move residents and visitors alike throughout the historic district, remains caged inside one of the city’s parking garages, collecting dust rather than collecting passengers.

Instead of receiving a quick pick-up from the trolley, or a tour bus that travels in conjunction with the riverboat, visitors are presented the opportunity to walk up the steep grades of our city streets to downtown shops and eateries.

We do not enjoy beating this same drum over and over again about the need for improved service and appearance for those thousands of riverboat visitors each year.

We would much rather celebrate the accolades received from visitors about the grand welcome and awe-inspiring views when they step off the boat onto Vicksburg’s waterfront.

But, unfortunately, we cannot do that. Yet.

This week, Vicksburg’s waterfront got welcomed news as owners of the Portofino Hotel finally filed permits and began renovation work of the downtown hotel. Simply cleaning up the site of the hotel would be an improvement.

We know plans for waterfront development have been talked about and maybe even planned.

But, our residents and our visitors have waited far too long for talks and plans. It is time for action.

Let us send a message to all of those who visit Vicksburg — primarily those coming by the river — that we are going to take whatever steps are necessary to show them the welcome they so deserve.