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City begins clearing of old pecan factory property

Ben Hillyer | The NAtchez Democrat — Adams County crews help Natchez Public Works remove broken-up concrete slab and retaining walls from the old pecan factory site along the Mississippi River bluff. The city hopes to use the land for demonstration gardens.
Ben Hillyer | The NAtchez Democrat — Adams County crews help Natchez Public Works remove broken-up concrete slab and retaining walls from the old pecan factory site along the Mississippi River bluff. The city hopes to use the land for demonstration gardens.

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez is adding a little greenspace to the bluff.

Natchez Public Works, with the assistance of Adams County, is working this week to remove the concrete foundation, retaining walls and driveway at the former pecan factory site.

Mayor Butch Brown said once the concrete is removed and the site cleaned up, the city plans to haul dirt to the site, level it out and plant grass seeds.

“We want to make it something that looks good and that we’re proud of,” Brown said.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen voted last August to buy back the pecan factory site six years after the city sold it to would-be condo developers Worley-Brown LLC. The city originally sold the property, which was donated to the city, for $500,000 and wound up purchasing it back from the developers for $750,000.

The pecan factory site could be used as demonstration gardens or for another related purpose when the city renovates the former railroad depot on the bluff, Brown said.

“We want to develop it as a park atmosphere, where there can be events and attractions,” Brown said. “It’s got lots and lots of possibilities, not just one purpose.”

The city, in conjunction with Alcorn State and Mississippi State universities and other entities, hopes to renovate the depot into a product development facility and build a farmers market.

Alcorn is receiving funding from the United States Department of Agriculture to construct a new building near the depot for a farmers market. Brown said he is lobbying for similar funding from USDA through Mississippi State’s extension program, which has expressed interest in using the depot’s kitchen for projects and other space for meetings.