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Park service interested in land near river

NATCHEZ — The National Park Service is ready to have a discussion with the City of Natchez about plans for Fort Rosalie property the city leased to the Isle of Capri 20 years ago.

Natchez National Historical Park Superintendent Kathleen Jenkins said she will inform the aldermen that the city’s 20-year lease with the Isle of Capri for the Little Mexico property — just south of the casino — expired in 2012. The city leased the property to the Isle of Capri, then Lady Luck, in 1992.

The lease also included, Jenkins said, the city’s commitment to the National Park Service’s Fort Rosalie project, which would include obtaining the Little Mexico property.

“I will remind them that there are challenges that the National Park Service faces (with Fort Rosalie), which have included the city going in different directions,” Jenkins said.

The NPS has been working for the last several years on obtaining the remaining Fort Rosalie property, which includes the Little Mexico property that currently houses utilities and a small parking area for the casino.

NPS continues to work on a development concept, and Jenkins has said they hope to have the land developed into a park with picnic tables and historical checkpoints on the walking trails by the Natchez tricentennial in 2016.

Mayor Butch Brown said the board of aldermen has not had a discussion about the lease nor plans for the property. Brown said he has had general discussions with Jenkins about the property and possible plans.

“It’s up in the air,” he said. “The subject has been approached, but no conclusions have been made.”

In other news expected at the meeting:

• Jim Smith will appear before the board representing the Green Alliance requesting a letter of understanding that any funding the city receives through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s Recycling Cooperative Grant program for marketing will be funneled through the Green Alliance for recycling promotion efforts.

The city plans to apply for the grant when MDEQ issues the application, which Smith said is expected to be soon.

The Green Alliance has been working with the city and the county to promote recycling efforts. The city’s curbside recycling pilot program with Waste Pro USA will start April 22.

• City Engineer David Gardner will present the board of aldermen with copies of a speed hump policy for the city the board asked Gardner to prepare.

• The board of aldermen is expected to award a contract to a construction company for work on Phase II-B of the North Natchez Drainage Project.

• Magnolia Bluffs Casino President Kevin Preston will present a ceremonial check for $350,000, the final payment of their first $1 million lease annual payment, to the board. The casino made the payment in mid-December.