Natchez Trace Completion Could Come Next Year

Thu July 15, 2004 - Southeast Edition

TUPELO, MS (AP) Sixty-seven years after Congress chartered its construction, the historic and scenic 443-mi. (713 km) Natchez Trace Parkway could be completed by 2005.

Natchez Trace Parkway Superintendent Wendell Simpson told Natchez Trace Compact members July 12 to plan for a 2005 celebration.

Simpson, addressing the Mississippi-Alabama-Tennessee organization’s annual meeting, said initial planning points to a May 18, 2005, event in the Ridgeland-Clinton-Natchez area.

Final construction projects in those areas will open the Trace to its full Natchez-to-Nashville length. Congress officially chartered the Trace May 18, 1938.

A public meeting for additional planning is scheduled at 1 p.m. on Aug. 19 at the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) Headquarters Building in Jackson.

Simpson urged the compact to become involved in the celebration because the completed Trace for the first time will be able to realize its potential as a tourism destination and cultural-historic attraction.

The compact’s goal is to draw people to the Trace and move them “beyond the trees” to the communities along it for their unique entertainment, historic and cultural amenities.

The compact is funded with state money: $100,000 from Mississippi, $25,000 from Tennessee, and $10,000 from Alabama.

Compact members reviewed and approved a marketing budget that includes magazine advertising that will put Trace ads in front of 10.5 million magazine readers between June 2004 and August 2005. The magazines include publications such as Southern Living, Ladies Home Journal and Woman’s Day.

The compact’s next meeting will be Sept. 20 in Leipers Fork, TN, a member city south of Nashville and adjacent to the Trace.