Heritage plan for north Mississippi nears completion

Reported by: Wayne Hereford
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Updated: 7/09/2013 7:30 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA)--According to tourism professionals, north Mississippi has a unique and diversified cultural heritage. 

From its historic Civil War battles, country blues and bluegrass music, literary giants- the area has a lot to offer.

However, tourism experts say we often overlook what is in the area. 

"But what we don't know is how many people come every year. Thousands upon thousands that show up to come to these events and come to these sites that they had no idea was here. Or, that their interest is Civil War or Civil Rights or it's agri-tourism.  Whatever it might be, we have it here and people need to come and see," says Kim Terrell, president of the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. 

The Mississippi Hills Heritage Area has been planning now for the past two years to tackle that issue.

Phil Walker, of Nashville, has helped the organization draw up a three year plan to make the entire 30 county area an attraction.

"All you have to do is look at other heritage areas that are further along in their development. And, they've had some great results, because anytime you can draw more people into your area and they're spending time that just naturally translates into more dollars in the area," said Walker.

Walker says there is a financial side to the plan, and it will enlist government monies to get rolling. 

Natchez Trace Superintendent Dale Wilkerson agrees.

"It appears that the heritage area has a nice conservative plan and they've established realistic targets. So, I think they're on the right track here," said Wilkerson.

The National Park Service will have to approve the plan before it is implemented.

Wilkerson says National Heritage Areas are specially set aside by Congress to insure the correct interpretation of culture history across the United States.
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