Builders host Smith at meeting
Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2002
Friday, January 04, 2002
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ – The city has more money in the bank and is working
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on a number of projects to boost quality of life and economic
development, Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith told homebuilders
at a Thursday night meeting.
But he added that the city still faces many challenges, namely
annexation and maintaining the level of services within the existing
&uot;We’ve got more money in the bank than we did&uot; in
the year 2000, Smith told the Homebuilders Association of Natchez
at its monthly meeting.
Planning and, in some cases, construction began on a number
of projects in 2001 and will continue this year, including the
4The St. Catherine Creek Recreational Complex.
4The Natchez Convention Center. The almost $9 million center
will be built by March, in time for the first events to be held
there in early April.
4Renovation of Memorial Hall as a federal courthouse, which
is set to start as soon as early summer and be finished by October
That project has the potential to bring in up to 35 federal
jobs and many visitors and refurbishes a historic building, he
4Rebuilding of a portion of Government Fleet Road leading to
the port area, which should begin in March.
4Rebuilding of Roth’s Hill Road, including installation of
utility lines and other infrastructure needed to attract businesses
to the riverfront site.
4The Natchez Trace extension, which is still in the land acquisition
and planning stages, according to National Park Service officials.
He also said &uot;two or three very good (industrial) prospects&uot;
are considering locating in the area.
Other projects completed in 2001 included bluff stabilization,
renovations at the Natchez Senior Citizen Multipurpose Center
and renovation of Carpenter No. 1 School, Smith said.
On the challenge side, mentioned street and drainage problems.
He also mentioned the annexation issue – namely, the city’s
hiring on consultant Joseph Lusteck to study the feasibility of
annexing county land.
&uot;I’ve not formed an opinion on annexation – I’m taking
a wait-and-see attitude,&uot; Smith said.
He added that the consultant’s report will tell the city how
much it will cost to annex land and how much it will get in taxes
If the city can’t justify the cost, Smith said he will not
be for annexation. Still, he said, &uot;we’re not trying to increase
tax revenue or make a tax grab. We’re looking at ways our town
can progress and grow.&uot;
In a question-and-answer session, members asked about industrial
prospects, public works projects and overregulation.