Gov. made Natchez $3.2 million richer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 30, 1999

As soon as he dotted his &uot;i&uot;s, Gov. Kirk Fordice made Natchez $3.2 million richer Tuesday.

The money to complete a federal grant for bluff stabilization is one of the largest pieces of state funding the city has ever received, said Natchez Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown.

&uot;This is a wonderful day for the city,&uot; he said.

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Brown and other city leaders were crossing their fingers that Fordice would sign the bill. He had indicated earlier in the Legislative session that he was not in favor of large spending bills.

&uot;We’ve been on pins and needles,&uot; Brown said. &uot;The folks that handled this for us did a great job shepherding this legislation through.&uot;

The money will complete a federal grant for the $12.5 million project to stabilize 2,700 feet of bluffs from State Street to Madison Street and rebuild Roth’s Hill Road.

Brown said the $3.2 million, along with the federal grant, will provide for another two years of work on the bluff project.

The first phase of bluff stabilization, which is reconstructing almost 2,000 feet of bluffs from Park Street to Madison Street, including Clifton Avenue, is three to four weeks from completion, Brown said.

The state money gives the city some leverage in its attempts to get work started on the next phase soon.

Brown and other city leaders are trying to cut some of the red tape involved in the process. The Corps of Engineers has already said the project could begin in mid-July, but Brown said he wanted it to begin even earlier.

&uot;With the funding in place we could just proceed right along,&uot; he said.&160;&uot;We’re working on that.&uot;