Trace bill allows park service to lease land to city

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2000

Legislation passed Thursday night in the U.S. House of Representatives clears the way for land acquisition for the Natchez Trace Parkway extension.

According to the office of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, representatives agreed Thursday to pass the Senate’s bill that will adjust the boundary of the Trace in Mississippi.

City Attorney Walter Brown, who is overseeing the Trace extension for Natchez, said the bill will also allow the National Park Service to lease land adjacent to Natchez High School to the city for recreational use.

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The city plans to build a sports complex on the property, known as the bean field.

Senate Bill 2020 was introduced by Lott and Senator Thad Cochran in February and passed the Senate over the summer.

Brown said Thursday’s agreement is not a vote, but officials are confident the bill will be passed with the next few weeks.

If no changes are made to the bill while in House committee, it will then go to President Clinton for approval, he said.

&uot;We’re absolutely elated,&uot; Brown said. &uot;We’ve been following the bill since June or July when it passed the Senate.&uot;

&uot;(The agreement) gives us the green light to seriously go ahead with the acquisition process,&uot; he said.

&uot;It’s a good day for Natchez.&uot;

Brown said acquisition agents have already been meeting with some landowners along the path of the Trace extension, and many have agreed to the price offered by the park service.

If all goes as scheduled, Brown said officials hope to have all land acquired and cleared by summer 2001, when the project will be turned over to the Mississippi Department of Transportation for construction.