[verbatim statement] Dec. 28, 2006—Eight years of effort finally paid off. State Senator John Horhn announced today that the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has allocated $1.9 Million and begun construction to reestablish a rest area on US Highway 49 just south of the Pocahontas Indian Mound. Benefiting both nearby residents and visitors, the facility will also boast an interpretive center, a small museum, picnic facilities and a jogging trail. Senator Horhn was aided in his efforts by residents of the Pocahontas Community Homeowners' Association.
"This rest area will be the only one in operation on US Highway 49 and will be a great asset to travelers as well as to the surrounding community," said Senator Horhn in his announcement.
MDOT recently began construction on the innovative rest area near the mound, which is a National and Mississippi Historic Landmark Native American Mound Site. Mayrant & Associates LLC of Jackson, Mississippi—which won the project bid—began site work in mid-November. They are expected to finish at the end of March 2008.
This project is a twist on the traditional rest area facility. As is expected, rest room facilities, a picnic area and a 24-hour security guard will be provided. In a move to make this rest area a destination for tourists and citizens alike, the planners have added an interpretive center and museum at the site. Replicas of artifacts found at the mound and surrounding area over the past several decades will be housed in the museum to educate the public. There will also be a nature trail for walking, a feature requested by the Pocahontas Homeowners' Association. Interpretive educational markers also will be stationed along points of the walking trail.
No one knows the origins of the Mound Builders, but they had many settlements and ceremonial grounds in strategic locations throughout the Mississippi River Valley. The Pocahontas Indian Mound is the only structure located within a highway right-of-way in Mississippi.
In a move to make sure that they preserve the mound and possible surrounding sites, MDOT enlisted the aide of Mississippi State in 2004 to do an archeological study of the area. MDOT used this study to plan how to avoid and preserve archeologically sensitive areas. They will be removing the current mound steps to prevent erosion from foot traffic.
In the planning stages, Senator Horhn and MDOT worked closely with several interested groups: the Federal Highway Administration, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and representatives of Native American Tribes.
Senator John A. Horhn
P.O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215
Mayrant & Associates LLC
1303 Vine Street
Jackson, MS 39202
Kitty Cook Ramsey
Public Relations and Media Relations
How nice. a rest stop.
I'd rather see that money spent on some teachers, some medicaid funding, and other more important items. Call me a scrooge.
I saw them working on this yesterday. I wondered what it was.
I wonder where they are going to put all this stuff? The site is actually quite small -- wedged in the median of 49.
I'm guessing the nature trail will be on the Northeast side of 49? If so, I hope they have some kind of pedestrian bridge to go over the railroad tracks there. The trains go about 60 mph through that area.