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Lawmakers pass bill transferring Trace land to city, state

WASHINGTON — Congress has approved 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 voted 419-1 to approve the Natchez Trace Parkway Conveyance Act of 2013 (S.304), legislation introduced by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and cosponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss). Rep. Greg Harper (R-Miss.) 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.

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 Highway 61/84. This adjustment was requested by the National Park Service.

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