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Alliance discusses details for project

NATCHEZ — The Community Alliance thanked the Adams County Master Gardeners for successfully kicking off the downtown beautification project, and discussed its next phases and project preservation at the monthly meeting Thursday.

The Adams County Master Gardeners were chosen by the Community Alliance to beautify downtown Natchez as the group’s community project. The project is still evolving in its initial planning stages.

Community Alliance Chairman John Holyoak said the efforts of the Master Gardeners who worked to spruce up Main Street on Valentine’s Day were a good start to the process.

“This project is achievable and makes a difference in the community,” Holyoak said.

Master Gardener Elaine Gemmell, who oversees the community service project, said in a perfect world, single-species trees would be planted downtown one block at a time starting on Main Street, with underplanting in each tree well.

Ginger Hyland, co-chairman of the Christmas in Natchez committee, recommended looking at the project from a “whole downtown” point of view, suggesting that people can choose to sponsor a tree -well to help raise the estimated $32,510 needed for the beautification project in addition to grants.

“When it comes to brainstorming like this, we can come up with solutions,” she said.

Gemmell said the Master Gardeners, Community Alliance and Keep Natchez-Adams County Beautiful wants to keep the beautification process open and transparent to the public. There will be an opportunity for public input before any changes are implemented downtown.

Still, the question of protecting the trees remains.

Holyoak said there is already a city code and state code for the preservation of city property, like the trees, many of which have been “chopped” or removed altogether without authorization. He suggested posting framed warnings on building to keep trees from being vandalized or cut down.

“There is no sense in doing all of this work if we can’t protect city property,” he said.

At January’s meeting, it was announced that the Green Alliance will be integrated under the umbrella of the Community Alliance.

If approved, the Green Alliance’s recycling grant program will provide all city facilities with recycling bins for office paper.

City Engineer David Gardner said the 22-gallon bins will be in all municipal buildings, and eventually Adams County buildings if the program is a success.

“This is a start,” Gardner said. “We are using this as a test, and it may grow into something larger.”

Other business included:

4Recreation Commission Chairman Tate Hobdy said the public is invited to a forum to learn and ask questions about initial plans for the new recreation complex from 5 to 7 p.m. on March 15 at the Natchez Grand Hotel.

“We want to get people excited and see we are doing what we were tasked to do,” Hobdy said. “At the forum, the public will have an opportunity to interact with the board and architect.”

4City Planner Bob Nix said he is seeking to create a citizens advisory group to help his staff make contact with the community, provide feedback on issues and share information. Nix said he seeks people who are outspoken and also willing to work together on a project with community consensus behind it.

4Manager of the Natchez Convention Center Walter Tipton noted upcoming events in Natchez that will be of interest to the public, including the Turkey Federation conference on March 3, the Mississippi Technology School Association on March 3 and 4, a National Guard convention on March 24 through 26, the Fireman’s Ball on March 25, a state pipeline awareness meeting on March 30 and the Colonial Danes March 30 – April 4.

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