Bluff, sprayground projects nearly complete

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Spring is a time of new beginnings, but at least two projects within the city should be drawing to a close in coming weeks.

Work on phase two of the bluff stabilization project, including construction around the gazebo, is nearing completion, said City Engineer David Gardner. Crews from contractors Schnabel Foundation Company of Roswell, Ga., are now busy cleaning up the site, pouring concrete and planting sod before city officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers perform the final inspection sometime in the next few weeks, Gardner said.

Barriers have been removed, but residents are encouraged to keep off the gazebo site until the turf has taken root.

&uot;They’ve done a good job, I have to admit,&uot; Gardner said. &uot;It may have taken a little longer than we would have liked, but I’ll sacrifice that for quality.&uot;

Included in phase two was land from Madison to State streets. The project tied in with the Silver Street retaining wall built by the city in the earliest stages of the massive stabilization project, begun in 1994.

Phase three, the final phase for which federal funds are allocated, began in October and could be completed as early as May 2002.

The total cost of the bluff stabilization project is expected to be around $26 million, Gardner said.

Across town at North Natchez Park, contractual work on a water playground is complete, said Ralph Tedder, city recreation director.

The &uot;Sprayground,&uot; as the playround is called, is a series of computer-controlled water sprays installed on a flat, non-skid surface, which are activated at random intervals by the movement of children.

The city received a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant last May for the $100,000 project and used allocated funds left over from a suprisingly low bid to pave gravel roads surrounding the site. Like with the bluff work, Tedder crews are waiting for warm, dry weather to lay sod around the site. Without it, the combination of water and foot traffic would clog the drainage system with mud. The Spraygounds will be open from May to October, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.