Leaders hopeful for progress as Interstate-14 coalition meets in Mississippi next month

Published 8:36 am Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Southwest Mississippi leaders hope the plans for a future interstate across the middle of the state will get a much-needed boost when Natchez hosts the I-14 coalition in October.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said delegates from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi are scheduled to come to Natchez on Oct. 18 to discuss progress on the future interstate highway.

“We want to try to get some energy going, get some momentum behind Mississippi and Louisiana,” Grennell said.

Natchez, Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said 30 to 40 delegates will meet at 2:30 p.m. at the Natchez Grand Hotel.

Russ said the meeting is open to the public and will include presentations from each state delegation. Progress updates and future plans will be discussed.

While portions of the future interstate have already been constructed in Texas, work in Louisiana and Mississippi lags, Grennell said.

“Texas is way ahead of the game. They already have money allocated for portions of the highway,” Grennell said. “Louisiana is slightly behind Mississippi. We need to try to get some energy going.”

Grennell said the city would also be hosting another important event on the same day.

“It will actually work really well because at the same time Chandler will be hosting the Southwest Mississippi Economic Symposium here in the city,” Grennell said.

Russ said the symposium will be attended by regional elected leaders, officials from the Mississippi Development Authority and other stakeholders

Grennell said having both events in the city at the same time has great potential.

“There can be some synergies that are created as a result of the coalition being here at the same time as the symposium,” Grennell said.

I-14 Coalition Chairman Judge John Thompson is scheduled to speak during the symposium on the morning of Oct. 18.

“He will give a presentation on where we are in the process and the future plans of what is left to do,” Russ said.

After Thompson’s presentation, Russ said Lt. Governor Tate Reeves is scheduled to speak during the event.

“I hope we will raise awareness and continue to build momentum,” Russ said. “To continue to fortify support for the designation for I-14.”