City officials ask for funding to complete park project

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 16, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Once another $10,000 is raised, it will take only two to three months to establish a park for small children at the corner of Madison and Wall streets, said city Recreation Director Ralph Tedder.

City crews cleared debris and overgrowth from the perimeter of the lot earlier this week. And Waste Management has already repaired a brick wall adjacent to the parcel, an aging structure that was in danger of falling down.

Now, the city has sent letters to businesses and organizations throughout the community, asking them to commit to purchasing specific fixtures or equipment for the park.

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&uot;Depending on how big the company is, they could each buy different things,&uot; Tedder said.

The park will include small playground equipment designed for 2- to 6-year-olds. That will include a &uot;climber,&uot; a slide, swings and rocking horse-type equipment, as well as benches and youth-sized picnic tables.

It will take $10,000 in additional funding to complete the $21,000 project.

Joyce Arceneaux, in whose Ward 1 the park would be located, has said the facility is vitally needed because small children have nowhere else to play but in the streets.

&uot;We (city officials) want to have a safe playground area for them &045; something clean, bright and pretty &045; and we want the community to buy into it,&uot; she said.

If the money is not raised from the private sector, the city will have to budget funds each year toward the project until it can be completed, Tedder said.

&uot;Once we get the money, it would take time to get the equipment in, but then it would only take two to three weeks to put (the park) together,&uot; Tedder said. &uot;All total, it would only take two to three months.&uot;

A park that once stood on the site was closed more than a decade ago, at least in part due to older youth hanging out in the area &045; prompting concerns from some nearby residents about the current plans for a park.

&uot;But the Recreation Department will have a certain opening and closing time for the park&uot; and will lock it up past those hours, Arceneaux said.