Proposal gaining steam for Southwest Mississippi tourism train - - Jackson, MS

Proposal gaining steam for Southwest Mississippi tourism train

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Spurce: WLBT Spurce: WLBT

There's a proposal for a "tourism train" that would run between Natchez and Brookhaven. Leaders like Representative Bobby Moak-D are requesting bond money from the state to kick start the project.

"The idea came about how can we help save our rail line," explained Moak.

The short rail line was in jeopardy of shutting down about five years ago. Now, they'd like to buy a train and car to run once or twice a week. The requested bond amount is about $1.5-3 million. Natchez is planning bicentennial celebrations and could see some of the most immediate benefits.

"We're already out of rooms," said Natchez Mayor Butch Brown. "Day trippers are going to be required. Day trippers are what Natchez needs."

The excursion train has the chance to transform sleepy small towns like Bude. Frankie Jordan owns the local floral shop and doesn't see much foot traffic. But she'd have a prime location if a tourism train gets rolling.

"I'm fortunate, I guess, in having my shop facing the railroad track," said Jordan. "If we had some people getting off and buying something I'd really like that."

Meadville Mayor Lane Reed would like to see folks stopping in the towns like his.

"Folks, good things happen when tourists come," he told a crowd at Thursday's press conference.

Ultimately, he looks at it as an investment for all Mississippians.

"For every one dollar spent on tourism, there is a return to the state of Mississippi of $6.64," said Reed.

The proposed bond money would be funneled through the Mississippi Development Authority. If approved, the tourism train could start rolling as early as 2017.

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