Others need to step up for recreation complex

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 28, 2001

Natchez city officials had no choice but to spend nearly $40,000 for an archeological study at a proposed recreational complex.

Aldermen voted Tuesday to fund the study demanded by the National Park Service. The NPS owns the &uot;beanfield&uot; land adjacent to Natchez High School. And the site, which has been targeted for a recreational complex, is believed to have been the site of an early French settlement, hence the park service’s mandated archeological study.

While the need for the study is indisputable – the federal mandate can’t be eluded – the city should not have to fund the entire cost of the survey.

City, county and school district officials have been working together to develop the plan for the St. Catherine Recreational Complex, once projected to be an elaborate, comprehensive $16 million facility.

But once the Park Service’s flag was raised, and the issue of an archaeological study arose, county and school district officials have stepped back, leaving aldermen to lead the effort. And, in this case, lead the investment by funding a $40,000 study. As the project moves ahead we expect many opportunities for funding will exist and we hope the other parties involved will step up and pay their share.

As we’ve said many times before, recreation needs to be a shared concern and focus among city, county and school leaders. Our community, the recent winner of a national &uot;livability&uot; award, deserves equally impressive recreational facilities. A public swimming pool, walking trails, softball and baseball fields, tennis courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, green spaces the list could go on and on.

But none of those opportunities can be fully recognized without cooperation, unity and real effort on the part of our elected leaders. The aldermen have stepped up; we challenge the others to follow.