Officials: More rec information needed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Local officials decided Wednesday they needed more information before deciding where to locate practice fields, an indoor pool, a walking trail and tennis courts on a section of land adjacent to Natchez High School.

A committee made up of city, county and district officials met Wednesday to discuss the best ways to arrange items on the property.

&uot;Regardless of how we set it up things are going to change,&uot; said Natchez High School Principal Brenda Williams.

And five or 10 years from now, they will probably wish we had arranged the fields differently, she said.

The committee decided it needs to get more specifics on the land itself and the types of space needed for each item, such as how much of a buffer zone is needed between practice fields.

Enough space also needs to be included between fields for the football team and the band so practice will not be disrupted.

Members also talked about building a $3 million public natatorium or indoor pool, which would be funded by the City of Natchez, Adams County and the Natchez-Adams School District.

&uot;(The) community needs a swimming pool – everybody needs walking trails,&uot; said Ralph Tedder, recreation department director for the City of Natchez. &uot;There’s no point in the city building a pool, the (district) building a pool and the county building a pool. We all need to do this together.&uot;

During the meeting, the committee looked at several options to arrange the various items on land next to the former Natchez Convention Center which is now the school district’s multipurpose building.

&uot;If you can think of a better way to use (or) rearrange these fields this is the purpose of this meeting tonight,&uot; said Dr. Wayne Barnett, director of student activities.

Barnett thinks the district must focus on the practice fields first because funds may be not be available for the pool and tennis courts for some time.

But the committee still needs to think about those items now, Barnett said.

&uot;When we mark these fields we want to do it in such a way we leave rooms for the things we want to add later,&uot; Barnett said.

Williams said she was not against the pool but she was concerned about funding, something that is not so prohibitive when it comes to preparing the fields.

She just wants to make sure &uot;our children have what they need right now and (what) I know we can give them,&uot; now.

The school district should first consider the best locations for the fields over locations for the pool and tennis courts, she said.

Adams County Supervisor Darryl Grennell and Natchez Alderman James &uot;Ricky&uot; Gray attended the meeting on behalf of their respective boards.

Both said they strongly support the building of a natatorium.

The committee will hold a second meeting after the information they need has been gathered.