City planners visit Natchez for workshop

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 11, 2001

About 40 urban planners from across the nation will visit Natchez today as part of the American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference to be held in New Orleans this year.

Gretchen Kuechler, assistant city planner for the City of Natchez, said Natchez is one of 72 communities throughout the region hosting mobile workshops as part of the four-day conference.

&uot;This is probably the closest a national conference will ever come to Natchez,&uot; Kuechler said. &uot;It’s a good opportunity for us to display our city.

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The focus of the Natchez workshop will be &uot;Partnerships for Preservation in Natchez,&uot; specifically the city’s LUMPs program aimed at revitalizing Large Unused Municipal Properties, Kuechler said.

Planners will visit several of the city’s successful LUMPs projects, such as the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African-American Culture museum, once the city’s downtown post office, Melrose and the community center, newly-renovated from a service station.

Kuechler said the tour will also include the Natchez Visitor Reception Center, a project partnership between the City of Natchez, the Mississippi Welcome Center and the National Park Service.

Representatives from the park service, Natchez Downtown Development Association, Historic Natchez Foundation and and the Natchez Preservation Commission will be on hand to answer any questions at a round-table discussion.

The APA National Planning Conference draws more than 5,500 professional planners, planning commissioners and students each year.&160;