Lane Co. shares plans for park with officials

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2007

NATCHEZ — Lane Company shared plans Thursday to create a family park, complete with water features and eclectic art.

The group — which has committed to building a 40,000 square foot riverfront casino at the bottom of Roth Hill — met with city leaders for much of the day Thursday, sharing their plans.

The company will be building the park on roughly two-thirds of their long, thin riverfront lease.

Email newsletter signup

Lane’s division partner Ted Doody said the park will be a positive contribution to the community.

Doody, city leaders and members of HGOR, an Atlanta based design firm, sat down to discuss the park’s design Thursday.

The team from HGOR generated four renderings of what the park might look like once completed.

HGOR’s Director of Urban Design Valdis Zusmanis said the long, thin strip of land where the park will be built will make for an interesting design.

The walls in their meeting room of the Natchez Convention Center showed an evolution of several tentative park designs.

Starting on one side of the room the drawings, taped to the walls, go from rough sketch, to surreal abstracts, to well-visualized glimpses into the future.

Zusmanis said after a day of meetings with a wide range of city officials, certain necessities the park will feature became apparent.

“It will have some kind of water feature for children,” he said.

Zusmanis also said the future park will also have a green space for picnicking, a stage or bandstand for outdoor concerts and a 12-foot walkway on the river.

The walkway will serve double duty as an emergency access road since the site can now only be accessed by Roth Hill Road.

Aside from the site and key elements the park will have, the designs presented by Zusmanis’s team engaged those at the meeting.

One by one, each design’s creator explained their vision.

One sketch included giant water-spitting catfish to greet park-goers.

Another design featured a wading pool inspired by the Mississippi River that would have various depths to allow for splashing or just lounging.

Another design showed the possibility for a series of walking trails from the top of the bluff leading down to the park. Designer Sarah Thomas said designing a park on such a unique piece of real estate was an interesting challenge.

“The river is just so prominent,” she said “It has to come into the design somehow.”

Thomas also said she wants the park to honor Natchez’s scenery without having a forced historic feel.

“It’s going to be very interesting,” she said.

Doody said the casino and park will cost approximately $50 million and should be completed by early 2009.