Aldermen push for federal courthouse

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 7, 2001

Natchez aldermen on Tuesday passed two resolutions required for establishing a federal courthouse in Natchez.

The process, ongoing since 1998, involves, city, county and federal governments, said Walter Brown, city attorney.

In 1999, the U.S. Congress passed legislation allowing the federal court to sit at Natchez but providing no facilities and no money for the courthouse.

The resolutions passed Tuesday state the city’s intent to begin the project and to issue urban renewal bonds to finance purchase of the property; and to take official action toward a proposed urban renewal plan, with a public hearing on the plan to be held on July 17.

Property under consideration for the courthouse is the 1850s building known as Memorial Hall located on South Pearl Street adjacent to the city council chambers and a small attached building on the north side of the hall. The Historic Natchez Foundation owns Memorial Hall; the attached building is privately owned.

4The change in zoning approved by Aldermen on Tuesday of a parcel of land off the east end of St. Catherine Street from commercial to residential will take place in 30 days. A legal notice will be published within 10 days, said City Planner David Preziosi.

The zoning change was made on the 8-acre site to accommodate plans for a 40-unit townhouse complex to be constructed on the site by Alabama-based Trustmark Construction.

The city’s comprehensive plan shows Natchez will need another 1,851 multi-family units within the next 20 years to keep up with housing needs.

4Aldermen heard an update from James Johnston, the city’s community development coordinator, on work under way on Government Fleet Road. The board approved contracts with real estate appraisers Dan Bland and Howard Herring and attorney Bruce Lewis.

&uot;We can begin to talk to property owners now, begin to acquire land; engineers are working on the road plan now,&uot; Johnston said.

The board also approved a modification in the Natchez-Adams Solid Waste Managment Plan that would allow Waste Management to drop off nonresidential debris at a Foster Mound Road site to await transfer to the landfill.