U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), along with Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), today reported final congressional approval of legislation authorizing the transfer of surplus land within the Natchez Trace Parkway to the City of Natchez for public recreation purposes.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 419-1 to overwhelmingly approve the Natchez Trace Parkway Conveyance Act of 2013 (S.304), legislation introduced by Cochran and cosponsored by Wicker. Harper was instrumental in moving the bill through the House of Representatives. The measure will now be sent to the White House for the President's consideration.
"The willingness of the National Park Service to give up surplus property created an opportunity for the Natchez and Adams County residents to use these parcels, which are not integral to the Natchez Trace Parkway, for recreational and public uses," said Cochran. "I appreciate Senator Wicker and Congressman Harper's work to move this bill through the legislative process. I look forward to it being enacted."
"I am pleased to see that Congress has enacted this common sense transfer of Park Service land to the city of Natchez and the state," said Wicker. "People in Natchez and those who visit will greatly benefit from additional parks and recreational areas. I am proud to have worked with Senator Cochran and Congressman Harper in achieving this goal."
"With the passage of this legislation, the City of Natchez and its residents are one step closer to converting this unused land to recreation space. I'm pleased to support Senator Cochran's efforts in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion," Harper said.
Supported by the National Park Service (NPS), S.304 authorizes the transfer of approximately 67 acres of surplus NPS property to the State of Mississippi and City of Natchez. The City would be given title to 37 acres adjacent to Natchez High School, known as the "bean field," for recreational purposes. The state would hold title to the remaining 30 acres.
The legislation, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent in June, also adjusts parkway boundaries to include approximately ten acres of NPS-owned land along Liberty Drive to State Highway 61/84. This adjustment was requested by the National Park Service.