City and county agree to meet on recreation issue

Published 11:40 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NATCHEZ — At Monday’s meeting of the Natchez Board of Aldermen, Mayor Jake Middleton said Tuesday’s breakfast forum with the Adams County Board of Supervisors brought some positive news for city-county recreation.

Middleton said after the forum, during which recreation was discussed, he and Supervisors President Henry Watts agreed to meet to discuss a joint venture to develop recreation in the area.

“We need to decide where to go with this,” he said. “We look forward to working with the county.”

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Middleton also took the opportunity to clarify that the Belwood site, which has been mentioned as a possible recreation site, would not need an $11.9 million levee as previously reported.

Middleton said those figures came from a projection made by Rentech when they considered using the site.

The $11.9 million levee included a railroad track and was 160 feet wide at the base and 17 feet tall.

A levee to fit the needs of the site could likely be done for less than $1 million Middleton said.

“It’s not as big an issue as it sounds like,” he said.

Aldermen Dan Dillard also announced the golf course at Duncan Park is reopen and fully functional.

“All 18 holes are playable,” he said. “They’ve made a lot of progress out there.”

Until recently the course was so clogged with down trees from Hurricane Gustav that it could not be used.

However, Dillard said while the course is usable it could be six months before it looks as if the storm never happened.

He said debris is still being removed from some of the sand traps.

And federal assistance from the storm was also a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.

Natchez grants coordinator Brett Brinegar said the disaster declaration granted to the city and county makes the clean up efforts paid for by the city eligible for federal reimbursement.

Brinegar said the declaration only covers public assistance — not individual assistance.

“It’s for public costs only,” she said.

Aldermen Ricky Gray said he has had calls from residents in his ward concerning individual assistance from the federal government.

Gray said many residents in his ward are elderly and could use financial assistance for food they lost during the hurricane as a result of power outages.

“They need help,” he said.

Middleton said he has heard Gov. Haley Barbour has requested individual assistance but has not received word of confirmation yet.