Aldermen pledge $10,000 to Boys and Girls Club

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2001

Natchez aldermen on Tuesday pledged a $10,000 annual donation toward a proposed Boys and Girls Club for local children.

State Rep. Phillip West, D-Natchez, spoke on behalf of the club proposal, updating the mayor and board on community support raised in the two weeks since Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore came to Natchez with the idea.

&uot;We came to a meeting with the attorney general not knowing what would happen,&uot; West said. &uot;He told us to go out into the community and get a diverse board representative of the community.&uot;

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West said that he and Adams County Supervisors Darryl Grennell and Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell had done as directed.. &uot;We’ve talked to people wherever we went for money, and we also got support from them to serve on the board.&uot;

Bank presidents and other business leaders are among those who have made commitments, West said.

&uot;We have access to the available funds for the club if we act within the next couple of weeks.&uot;

Moore has made a campaign statewide to raise awareness of funds available from the state Legislature, which will match contributions up to $25,000 with another $25,000 coming from the national Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Further, Natchez could be eligible for more money for the club through the federal program Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. That would require the initial start-up money to be in place and the needed community-wide support for the chartering of a local chapter of the club.

&uot;We need to do this for our boys and girls,&uot; Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux said. &uot;The attorney general needs to know we’re in support of it.&uot;

Aldermen in other business this week:

— Approved the purchase of video surveillance equipment for the Natchez Visitor Reception Center. Only one bid was received and opened, from J.M. Electronics for $29,875. The National Park Service, which shares the visitors center with city and state tourism groups, will pay half the cost of the equipment, said Walter Tipton, executive director of the Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau and director of the Natchez Department of Tourism Management and Development.

— Recognized Lynn Ogden, tennis coach at Cathedral Schools, who was named Tennis Coach of the Year for 2000 by the Mississippi Association of Coaches.

— Recognized Boy Scout Troop 170, who presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance to open the meeting. Their presentation was followed by the proclaiming of the week as Flag Week in Natchez in recognition of the annual June 14 Flag Day.

— Renewed the interlocal agreement between Natchez and Adams County on operation of the Metro Narcotics Unit.

— Heard a report from Paul Dawes of the Inspection Department that he had issued 141 total permits during the month of May with total valuations of $1.3 million. That included 48 building permits. Dawes also reported collecting $8,175 in fees during May.

— In other discussions with Dawes, Alderwoman Arceneaux pressed him for information on an unoccupied North Wall Street house declared a nuisance by a neighbor.

&uot;This is not new. We started the process over a year ago,&uot; said Arceneaux, who referred to repeated efforts to get responses from the house owners, who live in Chattanooga, Tenn. &uot;A tree has fallen into the roof of this house. There’s a big hole in it.&uot;

Dawes said that the house is secure and poses no danger to the neighborhood but agreed that the owners had not fulfilled their obligations.

The board agreed to ask owners of the house to appear before them and to ask the City Planner to explore a possible demolition by neglect order with the Historic Preservation Commission.