Vicksburg, Miss. (Vicksburg Post) – Visitors to the Vicksburg National Military Park will soon have a better understanding of the park and the area’s Civil War history under a plan to build an interpretive center on the Siege of Vicksburg and the park.
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann at a Wednesday press conference in Vicksburg announced the Legislature approved $10 million for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to build the center.
“We’ll be acquiring the land with the first $10 million and doing all the planning that goes for it, and we’ll have to raise — by my estimates — about $80 million by the time we get through building it,” Hosemann said after the press conference. “I want it to be the premier place in the country for people to look back on what went on in the Civil War.”
Bess Averett, executive director of Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign, said the proposed center will be an asset for Vicksburg.
“What we have seen in other communities that have a national park is when the private sector and the state and the local government get together and invest in that asset we see tremendous returns and the tourism experience and the visitor experience is enhanced,” she said. “So we’re really duplicating a method that’s been successful in other places and trying to learn how can we take better advantage of it.”
Averette echoed Hosemann’s statements, calling the proposed interpretive center an amazing asset in the city. She said the state of Mississippi and private foundations have gotten behind the project.
Averett said the Friends group has been working on the project for about 10 years and officially began some of the formal feasibility and concept studies about four years ago.
She said more work is ahead.
“There are some agreements that need to be in place; the idea is this facility would be constructed and operated and owned by the state of Mississippi, but there would be a co-management with the park service, the Friends group and the state,” she said. “All of that takes a little bit of time to work out. We’re in that process now, but it’s all very exciting for Vicksburg.”
“We’re very eager to see this through to enhance the visitor experience.”