After many years of review and analysis the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has decided to reconstruct US Highway 61 on historical Church Street in Port Gibson instead of locating it to the east of the town. This project will significantly impact those characteristics, such as the historical churches and homes, the mature trees, the pedestrian and bike access, that make Church Street such a special place. (visit http://www.portgibson.org/ and www.portgibsononthemississippi.com for more information) The MDOT is attempting to ignore federal laws by claiming it will build the project with only state funds and therefore the Department does not have to comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106). Ignoring the fact that the prior MDOT work was conducted under NEPA and Section 106 with federal dollars, the MDOT believes it does not have to satisfy the historical preservation concerns associated with a Church Street route. It has masked its efforts with numerous misleading explanations on why the Church Street route has been chosen. The Mississippi State Department of Archives and History has expressed its concerns to the MDOT. MDOT's independent engineers and consultants have stated in their reports that such a route would harm the very elements that make Church Street a historical treasure. Even MDOT Commissioner Dick Hall has publicly stated he is opposed to using Church Street and acknowledged that the MDOT was skirting NEPA and Section 106 by claiming it will only use state funds. During the recent public presentation the MDOT informed residents that the Church Street route is its final decision. The Port Gibson Heritage Trust along with the NAACP are pursuing all avenues, including legal, to save Church Street. The effort needs the support of everyone interested in historical preservation. If you have never visited Port Gibson please visit the web sites above to see the significant historical structures that will be impacted along with the entire tourism business associated with this unique town.
For more information please visit - www.portgibsonheritagetrust.org/
If you would like to send a written letter in support of our efforts please send them to the-
PORT GIBSON HERITAGE TRUST INC
PO BOX 751
Port Gibson, MS
We will be collecting all letters and petition information for presentation to the MDOT and other potential uses. Thank you.
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