Natchez is U.S.’s most livable city

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2001

The City of Natchez was named the most livable small city in America on Saturday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

&uot;I was thrilled,&uot; said Natchez Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith. &uot;This is a tremendous recognition of our city for what we have done for making the quality of life better for citizens.&uot;

Smith said the award shows how well the city’s staff has done at working together and solving issues.

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&uot;It speaks well of all of us in city government past and present,&uot; he said. &uot;Mayors from other parts of the country want to come to Natchez for a visit. It’s just another feather in our cap to let folks know what we’re about.&uot;

The award was based on the City’s much-touted LUMPS program.

LUMPS (Large Unused Municipal Properties) is a program the city created in the early 1990s to refurbish and utilize an abundance of vacant public buildings.

&uot;It’s really a unique program that a lot of other cities don’t have,&uot; said City Planner David Preziosi, who wrote the winning application. &uot;It’s why we wanted to showcase it.&uot;

He said the city has won similar awards in the past, but this award is different because it’s a national award.

The City competed with dozens of other cities in the 100,000 and under category.

Natchez, with a population of roughly 18,000, did well, Preziosi said, because of the hard work of the City’s staff.

&uot;I was excited,&uot; he said. &uot;The amount of hours spent on this and the different people who worked on this it really does bring a lot of people together who didn’t have an opportunity to work together before.&uot;

Preziosi said one of the best parts of the LUMP program is that it serves as historic preservation method.

&uot;We’ve been able to use these historic properties that in other cities would often sit vacant until they’re torn down.&uot;

The LUMPs program began in 1993 under the administration of former Natchez Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown.

&uot;It’s a tremendous honor,&uot; he said. &uot;Especially when you think about all of the cities across American that strive to have positive things said about them, it’s great.&uot;

In its application, Natchez listed only a portion of the LUMPs projects it has completed. They include:

4The City of Natchez Council Chamber building on Pearl Street.

4Natchez Police and Municipal Court Facility on D’Evereux Street.

4Oak Towers domestic violence shelter on Oak Street.

4Brumfield apartments on St. Catherine Street.

4Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center and small business incubator on Homochitto Street.

4Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture on Main Street.

4Main Street Marketplace on Main Street.