St. Catherine group seeking money for plans

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NATCHEZ — The St. Catherine Creek Project Committee is planning to meet with the Mississippi Development Authority to present their feasibility study and to hopefully get more funding for the first phase of the project.

The feasibility study shows it is possible to create five lakes off the creek. The lakes would help with erosion problems and offer more recreation options.

The lakes, according to the feasibility study, will be scattered around town. The first will be north of Lower Woodville Road, the second upstream of U.S. 61 South, the third upstream of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, the fourth downstream of Liberty Road and the final lake would be upstream of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

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Committee Chairman Tony Byrne said he still hopes there is a way the creek can be traveled from start to finish.

“It’s a matter of somebody coming up with a solution,” he said.

The project was conceived when Byrne was Natchez mayor.

City Engineer David Gardner said this initial feasibility study and its suggestion for five lakes is not written in stone. It was mainly to see if a project of this size and nature could be done, and it can. Changes can be made along the way, he said.

“We can deviate from this plan,” he said.

When Gardner, along with other city officials, traveled to Washington, D.C., they asked for $800,000 to fund the first phase of the project.

The initial phase deals mostly with land surveying, drawing up plans and making permit applications, Gardner said.

Environmental documents need to be prepared and many permits from many agencies need to be acquired and the committee also has to work with the Corps of Engineers.

The projected cost of phase 1 is $800,000. It may take a while for the requested money to find its way to Natchez, Byrne said.

“The $800,000 is going to take a long time to get here, so rather than let the project flounder around, let’s act like we’re not getting the $800,000,” he said.