° empty

Neighbors ask Natchez aldermen for help

NATCHEZ — Residents near the Carpenter Apartments looked to the Natchez Board of Aldermen Tuesday to help them solve noise, parking, litter and other problems around the apartments.

The Rev. Jim Sanders represented approximately a dozen residents who live near North Union Street elderly housing complex.

Sanders said residents need help to restore peace and quiet to the neighborhood.

Sanders said he has seen in the past parties happening at the side entrance to the building, and people going in and out of the entrance at all hours of the night. Sanders said he met with the owner about that issue and keys that could not be duplicated were made in an effort to restrict access to the building.

Sanders said he regularly sees people entering the building with luggage to stay who do not live there and are not elderly.

Visitors to the building also routinely illegally park on the street and block Sanders’ driveway, he said.

Sanders said most neighborhood residents originally applauded the efforts to turn the building into housing for the elderly and handicap, but he said non-residents frequenting the property have caused problems over the years.

“I know you’re limited because (it is private property), but when it gets to the point that it’s disturbing the neighborhood, I would think y’all would have access to it,” he said.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, in whose ward Carpenter Apartments sits, said she is familiar with the ongoing problem and said the city would set up a meeting with the neighborhood residents, the building owner and police to try and work out a solution.

Mathis conducted Tuesday’s meeting in Mayor Butch Brown’s absence.

Brown did not attend the meeting because he is representing the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative at a Mississippi River Parkway Commission meeting in Bettendorf, Iowa.

In other news from the meeting:

- Arceneaux-Mathis confirmed with Community Development Director James Johnston during the meeting the company seeking to develop the former Natchez General Hospital site into elderly housing had not filed a tax-credit application by the deadline indicating the project would not move forward..

Mathis said after the meeting that she believes the Brownstone Group developers heard the concerns of residents in the area concerned about heavier population density.

Brownstone, Mathis said, mentioned the possibility of developing the former hospital into high-end condominiums, which she said she believed residents and the city could support.

-The board discussed during its finance committee meeting prior to the regular meeting repairing or replacing a boat the Natchez Fire Department uses for rescues in the river.

City Attorney Hyde Carby said the city had been approached by a business owner who wanted to repair the boat, which needs maintenance and a new motor, use it for his business of running supplies out to passing commercial vessels and allow the NFD its use in emergencies.

The aldermen discussed problems with logistics and liability of that arrangement, their chief concern being that the boat would not be available if the business owner was out on a run during an emergency.

Stewart said he would like to see the boat repaired and in service, and the board asked him to check with other river cities to see what rescue boats they have and check into money available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for rescue vehicles.

-The board voted to approve a “Bras on the Bluff” month-long fundraiser for city employee Meg Freeman’s Relay for Life team, Team Tatas.

Freeman is a breast cancer survivor and said she is modeling the fundraiser on similar, “Bras on the Bridge” fundraiser she’d read about in other cities.

During October, participants will pay $2 to hang a decorated or plain bra on the bluff fence to raise breast cancer awareness and money for the American Cancer Society, Freeman said. Freeman said she has contacted the society, and it fully supports the fundraiser.

The bras will be displayed directly across from the Natchez Grand Hotel, which has agreed to host an event in conjunction with the fundraiser. Signs will be displayed on the bluff so passers-by will know what the bras represent, Freeman said.