City OKs underground bluff power

Published 12:43 am Wednesday, August 15, 2007

NATCHEZ — The city took the first step Tuesday in a long-term plan to prevent overhead clutter on the bluffs.

The board of aldermen voted to pay Entergy to begin work on burying power lines along Broadway Street.

Eventually, the city plans to have underground power lines run for the proposed casino under Roth Hill, the Country Inn and Suites hotel on Canal Street and the condominiums proposed for the old pecan factory site.

After burying lines on Broadway, other lines downtown might get the same treatment.

City Engineer David Gardner presented the idea to the board in a finance meeting before Tuesday’s regular meeting.

“We find ourselves in a position that we have to look long-term,” Gardner said. “If not, we’re going to have a spaghetti bowl of above-ground wires.”

For the first phase, burying wires along Broadway, the city will pay Entergy roughly $31,000, Gardner said. Entergy agreed to be reimbursed for their costs only, no profits included, he said.

In the future, the city will spend its own money, possibly $15,000, to provide the concrete supporting structure for running the lines, Gardner said.

Eventually, Gardner said, he would like to see the same style streetlights from the proposed condos to the hotel.

Since the underground conduit is already in place for the Roth Hill site, no digging will be required, Gardner said. All Entergy will have to do is run the wires. The city needs to start the project as soon as possible because the hotel needs electricity, Gardner said.

Alderman Bob Pollard was enthusiastic about the project.

“Putting the wires underground has been a goal for the city for some time now, anyway,” Pollard said.

In other business:

4The board officially accepted the resignation of James Coleman, who was indicted last week on charges of embezzlement, from the school board and the civil service commission.

4The board appointed Gary Guido, Cornelius Bradley and Fred Middleton to the city preservation commission. Alderman Jake Middleton abstained from voting on those appointments. The board also reappointed John Ray to the water board.

4The board voted to run a list of property owners whose properties were dilapidated to alert them their properties would be demolished if nothing was done, pending legal review.