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Heritage Area Plan For Delta Under Development

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 15 May 2012 05:22pm | comments

Public Hearings are going on across the Mississippi Delta to develop a long term plan to manage the area's historical and cultural sites. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports the plan is required for the area to keep its designation as a National Heritage Area.

The 18-Delta Counties were designated a National Heritage area three years ago.

Public hearings are happening now to gather input from people who live in Delta about what should be preserved and promoted.

Frank Howell with Delta Council says the designation is an important draw to the area.

"We have got an interesting story to tell. We are a unique and wonderful place. and being able to fully explore and celebrate that through the Heritage Area process will do great things not only to the people who live here but we will be able to fully tell that story that those that want to come and be part of it," Howell said.

At a Tuesday public hearing in Greenville a group of people brainstorm ideas for the plan.

The Delta is one of three National Heritage Areas in the state and keeping that designation means as much as 1-million dollars a year from congress to preserve and develop historic and culture sites in the area.

Sherilyn Jones of Indianola says many historic sites in the Delta get over looked.

"From the Teddy Bear down in Rolling Fork. To the B.B. King Museum. To Deek Creek. There are just stories to be told. And I failed to mention the food that is absolutely fabulous that ought to bring lots of people in," Jones said.

Highlighting the whole Delta experience can change opinions about the area says Jo Hafter of Greenville.

"Maybe through the promotion of this you can promote things like we are more than just folks who walk around and plow fields or sing the blues," Hafter said.

The goal is to have the plan ready by the end of next year.

If it is accepted by the National Park Service, the area will keep its designation for 15 years.

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