City adopts new beautification policy

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 31, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; A cigarette butt is litter. It is illegal to throw it on a public sidewalk, lawn or street. And in months to come, a smoker had better think twice about that.

A city pledge to support beautification and clean-up efforts has given hope to beautification activists. Finally, plans laid carefully through the years may come to fruition. And laws, good ones already in place, may be enforced.

On Tuesday, Natchez aldermen agreed to adopt proposals made by Stephanie Hutchins and the mayor’s beautification committee she chairs.

Email newsletter signup

And a renewed commitment to enforce anti-litter laws is in place.

&uot;Arella Bacon and I have struggled to keep alive our chapter of Keep Natchez Beautiful,&uot; Hutchins said. &uot;When the mayor said beautification was one of his goals, Arella and I wanted to jump up and down.&uot;

The two women began immediately to get a committee organized and to begin meeting. &uot;It was a very energetic and enthusiastic group,&uot; Hutchins said. &uot;And so far it is very encouraging. Everyone seems to be on the same page.&uot;

All the beautification projects and anti-litter laws in the world are without merit if there is no enforcement, Hutchins said.

&uot;The ultimate plan is that everyone becomes responsible for his own little piece of earth,&uot; she said.

Proposals adopted Tuesday include:

4Funding of $7,000 per year, beginning the 2005-2006 budget, to pay a contracted landscape company to keep tree wells clean, maintained and planted in a consistent manner. This will be overseen by the recreation department.

4Funding of $3,500 at the mid-year budget revision to pay for tree-well plantings in time for the May 2005 ribbon cutting of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

4Presenting of a &uot;home of distinction&uot; every other month, one from each ward one time a year. The award will be based on cleanliness and upkeep of the property.

Mayor Phillip West said his travels around the country have led him to realize the importance of a clean, beautiful community. &uot;A clean community helps you to attract people to visit your community. It also enhances your opportunities to attract quality businesses and quality jobs.&uot;

Further, a beautiful city promotes pride among its residents. &uot;And that goes to the attitude we have about our community,&uot; West said.

The committee has divided into two areas, Hutchins said. They are education and enforcement.

The full committee met in November and organized a plan to develop personal responsibility for litter prevention, decided on a logo and slogan, &uot;Nothing Matches Natchez: Fight to Keep it Clean&uot; and made an assignments in these areas of responsibility:

4Ralph Tedder as director of the recreation department will ensure his workers patrol park areas, pick up litter and keep entries into the parks clean.

4Margaret Graves of Natchez Public Works will put together a list of rules and information about disposal of limbs and branches; she also will study the possibility of &uot;amnesty days&uot; throughout the year, when residents can dispose of large items.

4Millicent Mayo, Janet Sullivan, Laura Godfrey and Arella Bacon will review the school litter program sponsored by Keep Mississippi Beautiful and also the Myrtle the Turtle program sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Transportation to determine which fits Natchez schools.

4Enforcement of anti-letter laws will become more consistent, Hutchins said. &uot;The mayor wants to be sure we let everyone know what’s going to happen, and then about the first of March we’ll start the fining.&uot;