City right to fight church blight

Published 12:04 am Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kudos to the Natchez Board of Aldermen for stepping up to the plate with regards to the decades-old eyesore sitting prominently on Main Street.

Aldermen on Tuesday unanimously voted to begin legal action on the owners of the former First Baptist Church building on the corner of Main and Rankin streets.

Sadly, the building likely has deteriorated too much for it to be saved without spending more money than the building may be worth.

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By stepping up and saying, effectively, “Natchez deserves better,” the Natchez Board of Aldermen has shown good leadership on an issue that, if pursued rigorously could ruffle some feathers.

Blight, as beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. In the case of the former church building, however, the condition of the building has become so poor that few people would likely argue against calling it one of the city’s worst eyesores.

Lots of people have made fun of Natchez’s rules and regulations regarding property maintenance and historic preservation, but those rules exist for a reason — they help keep Natchez’s tourist economy protected and the value of historic property high.

Both of those are of great benefit to the city, its taxpayers and all of the Miss-Lou.

We hope the city leaders are making a list of blighted property and taking them on one at a time. With hard work, diligence and the leadership the board is showing in the church case, Natchez’s historic areas could truly soar.

And with it, so could the quality of life for its residents and visitors alike.