City needs donations to build new park

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The plan is for a empty lot at the corner of Madison and Wall streets to be transformed into a park for 2- to 6-year-olds this fall.

But it will take at least another $6,000 to $7,000 in donations to make that happen, said city Recreation Director Ralph Tedder.

&uot;That’s how much it would take to get the rest (of the materials) we need,&uot; Tedder said Friday. &uot;About $3,000 would be needed to do landscaping.&uot;

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Tedder &045; along with Ward 1 Joyce Arceneaux, who represents that area but could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon &045; has been pounding the pavement for donations in recent months.

So far, the Recreation Department has received more than $13,000 in donations for the project.

Those included a $10,000 in-kind donation from Waste Management &045; the stabilization of a aging, dilapidated brick wall next to the park area.

A total of $3,815 in donations was made by Ransom Construction, Mississippi River Corp., Natchez Waterworks and United Mississippi Bank.

The Recreation Department also allocated $7,015 from its already-tight budget for the project.

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.

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.

Arceneaux has said the facility is vital 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 earlier this year.

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 has said.

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.

But recreation officials have said they will set opening and closing time for the park and will lock it up at past those hours.