Meeting focuses on aesthetics

Published 5:34 pm Thursday, March 22, 2007

Freshly planted flowers and scattered trash send mixed signals to visitors.

That was the focus of a Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission Board meeting Wednesday.

The Natchez Mayor’s Beautification Committee recently planted flowers along downtown streets to coincide with Spring Pilgrimage.

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The group has planted flowers in the spring and fall for the past few years. The funds for the flowers came from the city, Tammi Gardner said.

Gardner, a member of both the CVB and beautification committee, said she had received positive comments on the flowers so far.

“Traditionally, it was the responsibility of business owners to plant flowers in the spots in front of their businesses,” Gardner said. “But a lot of people wouldn’t do anything.”

The flower-planting program was started about two and a half years ago to spruce up downtown, she said.

But board members said they thought litter along city streets sent a less-than-welcoming message to visitors.

“It’s everywhere,” board member René Adams said. “Trash is a problem for economic development.”

Adams also said when business owners put trash out on the curb Friday to be picked up Monday, it became an eyesore for weekend visitors.

Alderman Bob Pollard, who attended the meeting, said police could write tickets for that and for littering.

The board asked Pollard to bring the topic up at Tuesday’s aldermen meeting.

“If we started giving people real tickets, all of a sudden, word will spread, and people might get very mad, but they wouldn’t do it again,” board member Ron Riches said.

Board members praised volunteers who routinely picked up trash they found along the side of the road.

“It takes a concerted effort on everyone’s part to clean up a town to where it’s got that wow factor,” Tourism Director Walter Tipton said.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office uses state inmates to clean up state-funded roads and recently was given permission to use county inmates to clean county roads.

In other business:

4Tipton suggested the board make their support of the Natchez Downtown Development Association official.

4Gardner and Adams expressed their interest in helping in any way they could with this year’s Art and Soul, an NDDA project.

4Natchez might be eligible for a $22,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration to promote the southern portion of the Natchez Trace, a scenic byway, Tipton said. The money would be used to create a promotional and educational video on the byway.

4Representatives from the city and the commission are scheduled to travel to Jackson to present gifts to legislators for the funding and efforts they put into recruiting Rentech to come to Adams County, Tipton said. The convention and visitors’ bureau was in charge of organizing and choosing the gifts, he said.