Aldermen to vote on city’s plan

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 22, 1999

After months of planning, the board of aldermen is scheduled to vote tonight on a plan that will take Natchez into the next 20 years.

The revised comprehensive plan was approved for recommendation by the Natchez Metro Planning Commission last month — with two major changes.

A proposal to extend Martin Luther King Jr. Street to John R. Junkin Drive has been removed, and the Forks of the Road has been added as a tourism anchor site.

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&uot;We’re at the stage where it should be able to pass,&uot; said City Planner David Preziosi.

Throughout several public hearings and planning commission meetings, a group of residents near Martin Luther King Street has complained about the proposal, citing environmental and traffic problems.

Proponents of the extension have said it would relieve some of the traffic problems on Homochitto and Canal streets and provide another access road to downtown.

The comprehensive plan is a guide for Natchez’s development and includes goals, objectives and policies, a land use plan, a transportation plan, and a public facilities plan.

In the original plan, four tourism anchors were included: the Natchez Visitors Reception Center, downtown convention center, NAPAC’s Museum of African-American Culture and Natchez National Historical Park.

Natchez activist Ser Seshshab Heter-C.M. Boxley asked the planning commission to include the Forks of the Road, once one of the largest slave markets in the South, in the plan. The plan now states land should be acquired around the Forks of the Road site &uot;and appropriate facilities constructed on the land in order to properly commemorate the significance of this site to Africa-Americans. A study should be initiated as to the best way to identify this historic site and explain its significance to visitors.&uot;

Aldermen meet at 6 p.m. at city council chambers on South Pearl Street.