City eyes casino parking options

Published 12:05am Monday, November 26, 2012

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez is eyeing the gravel lot next to the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center for parking it must provide to Magnolia Bluffs Casino in accordance with the lease between the casino and the city.

Mayor Butch Brown said the parking lot is currently the most logical option for the 100 parking spaces the city is required to provide the casino per the lease. Brown said the lot would be used for casino employee parking.

But Festival of Music Board Chairwoman Mary Lessley said allowing casino employees to park in the lot would cause problems with parking for the festival and other events at the center.

“Basically our parking comes from that gravel parking area,” she said.

Lessley said the city could allow casino employees to park in the grassy area beside the gravel lot. She said the festival does not use that area for parking.

Brown said using the gravel lot for casino employee parking is not set in stone yet. He said the city has other options for parking.

“We don’t think it will cause an issue with parking (at the center), but if it becomes a real issue, we’ll go to another plan,” Brown said.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen finalized the third amendment to its lease with casino developers in February, prior to Brown taking office. As part of the amendment, the city agreed to provide 100 parking spaces to the casino.



  • Anonymous

    Give the area where the Pecan factory was. It’s better than letting it grow up like it is now.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent idea, but all too obvious and easy for our local governing body to do. Just seems obvious.

  • Anonymous

    I agree, except for the fact the parking in the article is intended for employees. In that case, I would not use this high end real estate for that purpose. If it were for revenue producing patrons, that would work, at least until the veggie market outgrows the depot and needs additional space!

  • Khakirat

    Again , the Margret Martin school needs to be sold to Mrs. Lessley and the arts bunch and others to get the liability off the city taxpayers as that of the football field and put out on a public bid to the general public to get this property on the tax rolls!! This arts bunch and others are a very few people useing that needs get off the shoulders of the city taxpayers!! Keep the parking lot for the obligation to the casino is what makes sense!!

  • Gray

    Ghacky rat, you obviously do not know what impact the arts have on the community. Try to think along the lines of ” why does the city need to supply parking for a large corporation that needs to supply its own parking like the rest of businesses in Natchez”.

  • Anonymous

    I guess for the same reason that we spend millions building levees around marshland so an industry can locate here and employ locals. There is a lot of higher ground that would not need levees on Hwy 84 near Washington that sits on a 4 lane highway, backs up to the rail line direct into the port, would minimally impact traffic and safety in the city, is not limited in space availability as the area in the port for future expansion – yet the multi million dollar levee is being built. No levee, no industry. No parking, no casino which can locate in only a limited area due to state law and happens to lie along the MS river which limits parking options, and is located on the bluff which further prohibits parking construction. The casino negotiated this into the contract while providing promise of jobs and revenue to the city, I’m not so sure the arts group has the same bargaining chips. Yes, I agree there is a place for the arts, yet they should be more self sustaining through ticket sales revenues and/or donations. Who knows, they may even qualify for one of the infamous grants we live so well off of around here.

  • Gray

    Supplying the site at the old country club falls in the same category as the parking lots. Why should the taxpayers have to tote the load for businesses that are financially able to do so on their own. Every republican and tea party nut wants to give tax dollars to these entities,yet bemoan what is given to people on government assistance. The difference is staggering. These business will set up somewhere,with or without subsidies. It is called capitalism.

  • Anonymous

    I agree they fit into the same category, which is why I pointed out the similarity. As you say, capitalism prevails for business, but, to stay in the game for jobs, localities have to compete with attractive real estate/transportation/workforce/community/tax advantages/etc. Such is the case with the casino due to physical limitations of space while the other development could have been accommodated elsewhere without a $5MM levee. I think this process is a reflection on our local leaders who seem to have blinders on when making these decisions.

  • Gray

    Sounds like we are preaching to the choir. I am pretty much in agreement with you on these issues. I was also thinking that Denbury(?) resources didn’t ask for a handout, they just started building .

  • Anonymous

    High ground?