Community Alliance gets back to work

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 29, 2010

NATCHEZ — Approximately 40 people convened at Bowie’s Tavern Wednesday to revive the Natchez/Adams County Community Alliance.

Established in 2002, the alliance brings together community leaders, organizations and individuals to yield results for ongoing projects.

Members were to elect new officers Wednesday, but past Chairman and City Engineer David Gardner said the alliance’s bylaws prevent members from electing new officers until August. City of Natchez Community Development Director Darlene Jones now serves as chairman.

Gardner said the alliance meets once a month to brainstorm and exchange information with one another.

The regular communication prevents duplication of project efforts and presents opportunities for organizations to work in partnership.

“We want to include different groups around town and make (the alliance) as diverse as we possibly can,” Gardner said. “We want to get everybody on the same page, and adopt projects for us to push along.”

“Christmas in Natchez — City of Lights” is among the candidates to receive assistance from the alliance.

“Christmas in Natchez” co-chairs Ginger Hyland and Regina Charboneau spoke on behalf of the project, which aims to transform Natchez into a winter wonderland during the holiday season.

“We would love to be a part of the Community Alliance,” Hyland said. “Last year, we bought garlands and wreaths for downtown, and we plan to decorate Memorial Park this year. We want to keep adding more each year.

Charboneau said this year’s “Christmas in Natchez” theme is “A Broadway Christmas,” and will feature several family-friendly events. Broadway actor and Tony Award winner Gary Beach will serve as grand marshal of the Christmas parade Dec. 4.

Charboneau said the “Christmas in Natchez” committee is still exploring the option of a portable ice skating rink. A small delegation from the Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau traveled to Marshall, Texas, in January to take a look at Marshall’s ice rink.

Previous alliance projects include the completion of Madison Street Park, the Phatwater Kayak Challenge and the Natchez Trails Project.

Gardner said the alliance will further discuss projects to adopt at its next meeting at 4 p.m. May 26 at Bowie’s Tavern.

Earl LeBouef, a Main Street property owner, said the alliance revival is refreshing.

“I came to see where I can donate some of my time,” LeBouef said.

“I think (the alliance) is off to a good start.”