Chamber makes request for center space

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 9, 2002

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ – Officials of the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of

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Commerce on Tuesday asked aldermen to reserve the two smallest

retail spaces at the convention center for the chamber.

Sim Mosby, chairman of the chamber’s board, asked that the

spaces be reserved until city and chamber officials could negotiate

a lease for the space.

The request was made at the Natchez Board of Aldermen’s Tuesday

meeting, which was attended by more than 20 chamber members. The

chamber wants to use the space, about 700 square feet, as new

office space.

&uot;But I don’t know how we can say you can have or reserve

that space until we get definite word from the EDA&uot; on whether

that agency also wants space in the center, said Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot;


For the chamber’s part, said Mosby, &uot;we’d like nothing

better than to have us both (the chamber and the EDA) take up

all that space.&uot;

But he also asked why the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development

Authority was getting &uot;preferential treatment&uot; from

the city.

Smith responded that &uot;I started talking to them a long

time ago, before the chamber starting expressing interest.&uot;

Smith added that the EDA is funded, and its members appointed,

by governmental bodies and therefore is a public agency and should

be given preference.

In the end, aldermen tabled the matter until their Jan. 22


That was done to give the chamber and the EDA time to work

out what space each agency wants to occupy at the center.

&uot;We’re hoping y’all can work something out in two weeks,&uot;

said Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux.

But Alderman Jake Middleton pointed out that the facility is

opening in three months.

He added that tenants moving into the retail spaces will have

to &uot;finish out&uot; construction and furnishing the spaces


Also in Tuesday’s meeting, the board authorized Smith to sign

documents needed to take out a surety bond to get $1 million out

of a debt service reserve fund to help complete the convention


The money will actually be removed from the escrow account

Jan. 22.

Earlier in the meeting, Police Chief Willie Huff announced

that a meeting of the board’s Police Committee will be held at

4 p.m. Jan. 15 in the city’s council chambers on Pearl Street.

Huff said the meeting is being held to give him a chance to

respond to police allegations made by the NAACP.

In an Oct. 17 Police Committee meeting, more than 20 citizens

aired complaints ranging from alleged racial profiling and harassment

to beatings by police, ticket and arrest quotas and unfair firing

of officers.

And Middleton, Recreation Committee chairman, announced that

National Park Service archeologists have agreed to return to survey

the entire &uot;beanfield&uot; site.

Local officials want to build a recreational complex on the

site near Natchez High School but must have the site surveyed

for archeological value.

Last year, the team only surveyed 47 acres of the site – when

the city had requested a survey of the full 109 acres, Middleton

said. The whole site will be surveyed this time, he said, calling

the situation &uot;a misunderstanding.&uot;