Windows smashed at Martin building

Published 9:53 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Most of the windows in the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Building had just been replaced with more durable glass.

But vandals managed to break them anyway — 79 of them.

Sometime between Friday night and Sunday afternoon, vandals smashed the windows, some of which were made of a durable glass alternative.

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Those got knocked out in one piece, taking the frame with them, said Sara Blackburn, production manager for the Natchez Festival of Music, which operates out of the building.

Many of the windows had already been replaced after vandals broke roughly 100 of them last year.

“It’s getting so frustrating,” Blackburn said. “The worst thing is to have a building you’re working on, the minute you fix the windows, they’re broken out again.”

And with the music festival quickly approaching, the vandalism was bad timing, she said.

“Our season starts soon,” she said. “Our artists arrive April 21 and 28. It’s just right around the corner.”

Blackburn said she hoped the city would be able to fix the windows before the performances started.

This is nothing new for the building, she said.

“We have had this as an ongoing problem since we took over Margaret Martin,” she said.

Those who play basketball behind the building in city leagues might have something to do with the broken windows, Blackburn said.

But Recreation Department Program Director Wilbert Whittley said he has never had anything happen like that when games were going on.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of it,” Whittley said. “We don’t have any problems with any of them. Everybody leaves after the game. If anything happens, it’s happening in the early hours (of the morning).”

Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said his office would step up patrols in the area and investigate the situation.

“They have broken windows over there in the last year, but we were not able to find out who did that,” Mullins said.

A reward for information is available through Crime Stoppers at 601-442-5000.