City requests funding for numerous drainage projects

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 17, 2002

NATCHEZ &045;&045; A request for million of dollars in funding for drainage improvements along several north Natchez streets is still pending before a congressional committee.

In March, local officials petitioned southwest Mississippi’s congressional delegation for $6 million for drainage work in that area, including extending the Canal Street canal to Oak Street.

&uot;I’ve talked with (U.S. Rep. Ronnie) Shows’ office, and they said it’s still in committee,&uot; said City Engineer David Gardner. &uot;I hope we’ll know something soon.&uot;

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&uot;We’re in constant contact with (Shows’) office about that,&uot; said Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith.

Meanwhile, city officials are seeking funding to improve drainage along the streets they can.

Specifically, they will apply to the state by Aug. 26 for $180,000 from the Delta Regional Authority to install underground drainage pipes along Martin’s Lane and Buckner Alley.

That amount would cover the work that needs to be done on those streets. If the money was spent on the north Natchez drainage project, it would only cover a fraction of the work to be done, Smith said.

&uot;That’s the reason I thought of that one,&uot; Smith said, referring to applying to the authority for funds for the Martin’s Lane project. &uot;I thought we would have a good chance of getting the funding.&uot;

Martin’s Lane and Buckner Alley are not directly tied into the north Natchez drainage project now being considered for federal funding but are in that area.

&uot;We’ll put in a series of underground pipes to intercept and discharge the rainwater through an underground system we have on Smith Lane,&uot; Gardner said.

Culverts will also be installed on each side of Buckner Alley. As it now stands, retaining walls along the streets make the roads &uot;like a ditch,&uot; Gardner said.

During heavy rains, water can stand up to two feet deep in that area.

The reason for the short application deadline for the Delta Regional Authority funds is that the money must be appropriated by the end of the federal government’s fiscal year.

&uot;Fortunately, our staff are capable of responding to that quickly,&uot; Smith said.