City confident of receiving grant for transportation facility

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2009

NATCHEZ — City officials are confident a Federal Transit Administration grant to fund a $2.9 million regional transportation and maintenance facility will be awarded, so confident the Natchez Board of Aldermen authorized to advertise request for proposals for professional consulting services.

Natchez Senior Center Multi-Purpose Complex Executive Director Sabrena Bartley, City Engineer David Gardner and City Surveyor Tony Moon spoke before the aldermen at their finance session Tuesday, requesting the city advertise RFPs for consulting work in the survey, design and construction of the facility.

Bartley emphasized the advertisement does not obligate the city to contract with any consultants, and will be contingent upon the city receiving the FTA grant.

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The city applied for the grant through the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which advised the city to begin advertising RFPs.

“We’re expecting to hear something the very first of the year,” Bartley said of the grant. “MDOT suggested we go on and start soliciting bids for consulting services.

“If the grant is not awarded, it’s a mute subject. Even if we accept the proposals, we’re not committing to anything.”

Aldermen Dan Dillard said he would be more at ease to accept proposals if the city is assured the grant money. Both Gardner and Moon said word of mouth is strong the city will receive the grant.

“(MDOT) wouldn’t ask for this level of detail if they weren’t seriously considering giving us this money,” Moon said.

Bartley, Gardner and Moon also requested the aldermen establish a selection committee to review the RFPs. Committee members are Mayor Jake Middleton, Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, Gardner and Bartley.

If the grant is awarded, the facility will be constructed along North Shields Lane and Wood Avenue.

The facility would serve as a hub for city vehicles, and provide transit services to Alcorn State University and other regional locations.