Senior center closer with donated land

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2000

A donated piece of property on U.S. 61 South has brought Natchez one step closer to having its own methodist retirement center.

Miss-Lou residents Bob Bertolet, Jesse Horton, D. Horton and Garrett A. Ahrens have donated the 33 acres to the United Methodist Senior Services of Mississippi, Inc. Todd Bertolet of Ridgeland, James M. Harmount of Madison, Alan Rihner of Brandon and Richard Doty of Oxford also were involved in the donation.

&uot;They were extremely nice to donate such an accessible piece of property for such a great cause,&uot; said Natchez resident Troy Watkins. &uot;I think the community should thank them for it every day.&uot;

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Over the past few years, Watkins and a group of local volunteers have been instrumental in moving the process along. &uot;I think it will be one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in Natchez,&uot; Watkins said.

The donated land is located next to Beau Pre Country Club on U.S. 61 South.

Bob Bertolet of Natchez said his son Todd should get a lot of credit for the transaction. Todd noticed the property several years ago and thought it was an ideal location for a retirement home, Bertolet said.

The group, known as Tango Bayou LLC, purchased the property but later decided to donate a portion of it to the methodist center.

&uot;We all got together and decided it would be a splendid thing for Natchez to have this kind of complex,&uot; Bertolet said.

It would bring jobs to the community and benefit retirees, Bertolet added.

United Methodist Senior Services of Mississippi Inc. already operates at least 10 such centers across the state.

The exact design of the Natchez complex and the number of people it could house has not yet been decided.

Lisa Sandroni, director of public relations for United Methodist Senior Services, said the complex will include a combination of independent living and personal care homes.

The apartments serve retired people who are independent or only need minimal help. Before construction, senior services will conduct a $10,000 feasibility study, financed by local contributors, Sandroni said. The study will determine if Adams, Franklin, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties have a great need for this complex. But the group is certain the results will be favorable, Sandroni said.

&uot;We feel like there is a need down there or it wouldn’t have gotten this far,&uot;&160;she said.

Senior services will use local funds to get a loan for construction. It will be about three years before the complex will be ready for residents, Sandroni added.