City, state should work together on apartments

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Natchez officials seem ready to put a misunderstanding behind them and move forward with plans to develop an old school into much-needed housing for elderly residents.

Last week, Archives and History curbed work on the Carpenter No. 1 project because, the department says, it did not approve final plans for the project. Because the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Mississippi landmark under the state antiquities law, any changes must be approved by Archives and History.

Natchez officials, however, say their records show that they did send final plans to the department.

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Rather than assign blame, both sides have chalked up the incident to a misunderstanding and are working to continue the $2.1 million renovation of the old school.

That’s important, not only because it makes use of Natchez’s LUMPs – large, unused municipal properties – but also because it will provide needed housing for senior residents in the community.

This isn’t the first time Natchez has turned an old school into affordable housing units – Brumfield School is now used as low-income apartments – but it is the first time the city has offered apartments for senior citizens.

We hope the city and the Department of Archives and History can share their vision for the project and come to an agreement to continue work on the apartments.