The city of Natchez was hoping renovations to historic Fort Rosalie might be completed before its tricentennial celebration. But the federal shutdown might put an end to that plan.
The National Park Service has stopped work at Fort Rosalie. The work was scheduled to be finished by mid-December; however, the shutdown might force the completion date to be pushed back.
A contractor was to remove eight structures and concrete slabs from the site but cannot work during the government shutdown, superintendent Kathleen Jenkins told The Natchez Democrat.
The only structures that will remain at the Fort Rosalie site are the log cabin and the house next to it.
Crews are also supposed to clear overgrowth from the site.
The work at Fort Rosalie is in preparation to open the site as a visitors’ attraction in time for the city’s yearlong 300th birthday celebration in 2016.
The French established Fort Rosalie, located on the bluff, in 1716. It became the nucleus of settlements from which the Mississippi Territory was founded.
NPS is also investing money this year on developing a concept plan for Fort Rosalie. The plan, Jenkins said, will look at all the different aspects of what the visitors’ experience will be like at Fort Rosalie, from parking to where the picnic area and other features will be located.
The opening of Fort Rosalie is scheduled to be near the dates of the Natchez Food and Wine Festival in 2016. Mayor Butch Brown has said the festival might be expanded to Fort Rosalie, where period food and beverages would be served.
The shutdown has also closed the Natchez National Historical Park, Natchez Trace Parkway facilities, the William Johnson House and Melrose.
Jenkins said it is difficult to say now what the shutdown’s effect will be on the work at Fort Rosalie.