Economic impact of Civil War center cited at $14 million

By JANE CLARK SUMMERS

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – If predictions are accurate that 250,000 tourists will visit the Civil War Interpretive Center each year, visitors may have a $14-million impact on the community.

The Civil War Preservation Trust hired Davidson-Peterson Associates of Kennebunk, Maine, to compile economic impact studies of seven battlefields. Corinth was one studied last year.

A visitor profile developed through the study indicates that the vast majority of visitors to the Corinth Battlefield are highly educated, affluent adults.

“Come July, we are expecting thousands of visitors,” said Stacy Allen, chief ranger at Shiloh National Military Park. “We want everything to be just right for them.”

The park service is targeting a grand opening date between July 19 and 31, Allen said.

“Corinth is indeed going to be the beginning place for the Civil War experience in this area,” said Bob Joiner, director of the Alcorn County Team to Implement Opportunities Now.

The economic impact study involved 4,088 Corinth battlefield visitors in 2003. These had an impact of $220,000. At that rate, some 250,000 visitors expected after the National Park Service center opens this summer would have a $14 million impact on the community.

Most visitors are Civil War buffs and 88 percent have visited other battlefields. Among those, more than half found the Corinth battlefield experience to be better than they have seen and 87 percent said they would recommend a visit to their friends.

The other impact studies were done in Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and New Market, Va.; Mill Springs, Ky.; Port Hudson, La. and Shiloh, Tenn.