Are things looking up, and cleaner?
Last week, the City of Natchez was on the move and things were churning again.
Seeing the evidence was simple, all you had to do was watch for the disappearing grass clippings and listen to the loud rumblings from downtown.
Headed to lunch one day last week, a conspicuous band of grass clippings provided a strip of color along the edge of the usually dark gray pavement along Canal Street near the Natchez Convention Center.
“That’s not good,” I said, driving past.
One hour and one full belly later, on the reverse trip, something miraculous had happened.
“Hmm, the grass is gone. That’s good.”
That was the first hint.
Then, a dozen yards down the street, the stripes were the next hint.
A city public works truck was idling as a group of inmates cut grass and weeds along the edges of the roadway.
It was a beautiful sight for taxpayers.
A few minutes later, parked and walking into our building, the third clue was evident. This one was ringing in my ears.
A loud, low rumbling was coming from the front of our building. Walking to the front, the creator was easily seen — the city’s street sweeper was grinding along Canal Street.
All of the pieces were coming together now. The inmate crew had taken advantage of a break in the clouds to provide a much-needed haircut to some of the areas along Canal Street.
Obviously the city was doing a good job coordinating their work since the street sweeper seemed to be working in lockstep with the cutting crews.
Natchez has used inmate crews and street sweepers for years, but it sure does seem like both have been a little more visible lately.
Perhaps that’s a testament to the new administration or maybe it’s just my imagination.
But the maintenance crews aren’t the only city representatives who seem to be more visible lately.
Again, this is purely anecdotal evidence, but I’ve seen an increased visibility of Natchez Police patrolling the streets too, particularly officers set up to radar for speeders.
If that’s the case, it’s a great thing.
Having the city operating efficiently and being held accountable by leaders and ultimately the public is exactly what we all hope to see out of the city.
We’re only two weeks into the new administration and already hints of things getting done are all around.
It’s clear that things are being tended to in the city again. That’s refreshing to see, and long overdue.
With new economic prospects on the horizon, it certainly feels like the community’s direction has turned sharply.
But getting the grass cut and clippings cleaned up is relatively easy, at least in the grand scheme of things. Keeping momentum going and building consensus among our residents will be much tougher.
It will get much easier when residents know they can consistently count on the city to keep the basics tended to and under control.
Thanks for the extra effort, Natchez city workers. It’s much appreciated.
Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.