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Christmas town damaged during morning storm

Readers have shared a few photos of storm damage this morning. We will publish some others this afternoon. These came from Circuit Clerk Phelps and show considerable damage to the Christmas town built for the holiday train excursions the past fews years in Batesville.

Perhaps this is another sign (along with the minor derailment and early shutdown in December) the Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen should make a clean break from The Train to Christmas Town and make every effort to make a fresh start with the holiday tourism effort for the Downtown Square.

Many city officials and others in the community would like to see the return of The Polar Express event that was so popular before it was replaced with The Train to Christmas Town.

Not only is The Polar Express a much larger brand with a national audience, the company that represents that entity seems to have a better public relations strategy for its broad base of customers and partnering cities.

Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar recently said economic development numbers gathered during the train events, along with state sales tax figures, clearly show Batesville enjoys terrific benefits during the holiday season. A return of The Polar Express, Azar said, would bring even more tourism dollars to the city.

“The most value comes form the shared family experience and lasting memories created in our communities,” Azar said.