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Overgrown overpass still questionable

A once beautiful, even unique highway intersection will become a bit plain, a bit more commonplace.

When the U.S. 61 overpass at Liberty Road opened in 2007, the beautifully landscaped areas surrounding it were exquisite — at least as far as highway medians go.

Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on the landscaping and the sprinkler system. The beautiful work almost immediately won acclaim.

The overpass was the cute, adorable puppy that everyone wants to watch and pet.

After a year or two and after Natchez native Butch Brown was ousted as head of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the puppy had grown up. No one wanted to play with him anymore. MDOT, under new leadership, said it couldn’t afford to maintain the elaborate landscaping. The City of Natchez — both under the previous administration and the current one, led by Brown — has said it cannot afford to maintain the landscaping either.

So county Supervisor and county Extension Service Agent David Carter has decided to do something about the matter. Carter single-handedly organized a few efforts to try and clean up the now overgrown mess.

He’s finally relented and starting today, inmate crews are expected to begin dismantling the landscaping and replacing it with common grass, which can be more easily mowed.

We offer our thanks to Carter for helping resolve the matter.

But the whole ordeal begs two questions:

First, shouldn’t the city always have a maintenance plan locked in place before we agree to anything that requires ongoing work?

Second, if inmate crews are available to tear up the work, are they not capable of regularly cleaning up what’s there, thus protecting the original investment of taxpayer dollars that are planted in the ground?