Preservation panel tables request for church addition

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2001

The Natchez Historic Preservation Commission heard two requests involving local churches Wednesday, tabling one and partially approving the other.

Concerned that a proposed addition to Jefferson&160;Street United Methodist Church would compete with the original structure rather than complement it, the commission voted to table the congregation’s request.

They agreed to meet in a special session with members of the building committee in two weeks to work out a design that will fulfill the congregation’s needs while preserving the historic integrity of the area.

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&uot;The past is important, and I believe in preserving the past, but the future is important too,&uot; said Jefferson Street pastor, the Rev. James &uot;Pete&uot; Herndon.

&uot;If we do not make these improvements, Jefferson Street does not have a tremendous future.&uot;

Chairman Tony D’Angelis said the commission does not want to see Jefferson&160;Street move out of downtown and will work with the building committee and architect to reach a compromise.

&uot;We all want to see this thing move forward,&uot; he said.

The commission also approved partial demolition of the Holy Family Catholic Church convent. A Feb. 10 fire destroyed the rear portion of the convent, which also houses offices for Holy Family Catholic School.

Church member Duncan Morgan said parishioners want to rebuild the destroyed portion of the convent, incorporating new construction into the portion that remains.

But, if that plan proves financially impossible for the church, Morgan asked that the commission be open to allowing the entire structure to be demolished.

Preziosi said an out-of-town architect who specializes in historic structures has offered to look at the convent and give his expert opinion as to whether it can be salvaged.