City hoping for funds to ease drainage woes

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 14, 2000

Almost as soon as the rain stopped falling early Wednesday, Natchez officials were planning to apply for grants to ease the damage the storm caused.

Anywhere from 3 to 5 1/2 inches of rain fell over the Miss-Lou in a short amount of time, clogging drains and flooding streets and buildings.

City officials will be asking representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service — a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — to assess the damage to see if Natchez qualifies for emergency funding to solve the drainage problems, said Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown.

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&uot;We had already done one set of (applications) from the previous big rain,&uot; Brown said. &uot;We’ll probably get a review as early as Monday morning.&uot;

After Wednesday’s rain, the city quickly asked for reviews of portions of Melrose Avenue, Espero Drive, Lindberg Street, Mansfield Drive, Homewood Park subdivision, Homochitto Street, Linwood Circle and Texas Street.

&uot;We suffered some pretty good damage,&uot; said City Engineer David Gardner, who said drainage pipes had burst Thursday on Maple Street and Jefferson Street. &uot;We had too much water in too short a time.&uot;

Gardner said the city has always had a good relationship with NRCS&160;officials. In the past seven years, the city has received more than $14 million in funding for erosion projects.

&uot;(The funding) doesn’t correct the damage that occurs, but it prevents similar things from happening in the future,&uot; Brown said.

In order to apply for NRCS&160;grants for drainage or erosion projects, a city has to get more than 4 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. Gardner plans to take the city’s request a step further, asking NRCS not only for erosion funding but also for flood assistance.

&uot;We really have needs beyond most communities because of this loess soil,&uot; he said. &uot;When it gets wet it loses its cementation properties. It just can’t take this water.&uot;

In addition to problems city officials are working on, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is working to fix a sinkhole on U.S. 84 East near the Mississippi River Bridge.