Sweeper to keep Natchez streets clean

Published 8:55 am Friday, April 6, 2007

The city streets will be a little cleaner in the near future.

The Public Works Department has ordered a new street sweeper that should arrive by the end of May, Director Eric Smith said.

The old sweeper, built in 1993, is starting to run down, he said.

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“The old one operated just like a big broom and dustpan,” Smith said.

“Brushes underneath swept the dirt, and vacuums swept it up.”

The vacuums are getting weak, he said, and the brushes sweep heavier dirt and gravel to the roadside.

“The new one is much more powerful,” he said. “It has features that will be able to clean storm drains, which have been neglected in the past.”

The new machine, which is currently being built, will have extendable hoses that can clean leaves and debris from drains.

“With the new one, you’ll really be able to see the difference,” he said.

Maintenance costs for the old sweeper were steadily rising, making the $125,000 new machine an option, Smith said.

Natchez residents should see the new sweeper more frequently, too, he said.

“I’m looking to run this one daily,” Smith said.

“The one we have now, because of its age and what it costs to keep running, it runs when it’s needed.

“(The sweeper) will be a big plus for the downtown area, since (downtown) is being promoted as one of the city’s main attractions, it will help keep that area looking good.”

Keeping the town looking good is something to which the Mayor’s Beautification Committee Chairwoman Stephanie Hutchins looks forward.

“I’m thrilled to have it,” Hutchins said.

“It should solve a multitude of the problems we have had, especially from weekend and late night traffic. It should be able to do the work of many men downtown. We’re absolutely thrilled that that came to pass.”