Riverfront development should be at forefront of new administration

Published 9:25 am Friday, June 9, 2017

Now that the election is over, it is time for Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs to come through on one of his pre-election promises. It is time for him to put into action something he said he would do after the election — if he were elected.

Now is the time for the riverfront development committee to be created, given clear direction and then unleashed to begin discussions on ways to revitalize Vicksburg’s waterfront.

Just before the May primary, Flaggs said he would create the committee, but would not do it before the election in order to keep “politics out of it.”

Well, the time has come.

With the recent announcement by the owners of the Portofino Hotel that the riverfront hotel will be made over as a Magaritaville Resort, complete with family-based amenities, we might very well have an anchor on the waterfront to build from.

While we cannot expect immediate results, we can expect quick announcements from the mayor on the makeup of this committee and its scope of work. We should also expect meetings to begin quickly.

As we have reported a number of times, Vicksburg is set to welcome more than 40,000 visitors to the city this year by way of riverboats. In fact, on one day in November, we are expected to have at least four riverboats in town at the same time.

We can no longer ignore the impact a waterfront that is well developed, attractive and family-friendly could mean to the local economy.

It is important, too, this committee represent the interested parties of a successful and beautified waterfront. The committee should include those from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Port of Vicksburg, the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Vicksburg Convention Center, Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Vicksburg, local merchants and others.

For this to be successful, we need everyone at the table with ideas, and ways to make the best ideas reality.

Mayor Flaggs said he would wait until after the election to begin. That election is now over and it is time we get to work improving Vicksburg’s waterfront.