Colonnades lack historic status

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NATCHEZ — The Cock of the Walk building could be on its way to getting the repairs it needs to strut its stuff like in the old days.

But its partner in the proposed repairs project — the old tollbooth colonnades — needs a bit of an ego boost first, City Engineer David Gardner said at Tuesday’s aldermen meeting.

Both buildings qualify for enhancement funds from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Gardner said, and by presenting them as one project, the cost rises to at least $1 million.

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“When you apply for enhancement funds, (MDOT) doesn’t like to award anything less than $500,000,” he said at the July 12 board of aldermen meeting. “The target is $700,000 to $1 (million) or $2 million.”

But Gardner said he’s since realized the old tollbooth isn’t listed on the national register or considered a national landmark — one of the stipulations of being awarded the enhancement fund from MDOT.

To solve the problem, Mayor Jake Middleton will be drafting a letter to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History requesting that the old tollbooth be considered a landmark.

“We’ve just assumed that it was, and treated the colonnade like it was, a historic landmark,” Gardner said. “But technically, it’s not.”

In other news at Tuesday’s meeting, after MDOT reduced Natchez’s yearly grass cuttings from six to three in early June, city leaders decided using the allocated $10,000 to hire an outside contractor, rather than utilizing MDOT’s services, would be the best option.

In early July, they opted to go with Jeffrey Ross Industrial Services’ quote of $6,900 for three cuttings a year, which totals $2,300 per cutting.

The aldermen voted to add four areas to the land originally included in the quote, tacking on an additional $400 per cutting.

However, the city was originally given five quotes, Gardner pointed out, and the new price per cutting — $2,700 — is less than the second lowest beginning quote, which was $3,000 per cutting.

The four new locations include an area by the city’s welcome sign near Trinity School headed north, as well the location opposite of that, Gardner said. The last two locations are the lower section of off Spanish Bayou and the last section in the Northwest corner of the Liberty Road interchange with Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

Gardner said those areas were chosen because they aren’t easily accessible to any businesses or residences and are therefore more likely to be overgrown.

Other things discussed included:

4Alderman Dan Dillard made a motion for City Planner Bob Nix and City Attorney Everett Sanders to meet and discuss an ordinance to help control potentially dangerous animals.

Middleton said it’s especially important that in light of the recent downtown cat killings, people make sure that the leash law be enforced and dogs be kept in control at all times.

“It’s your responsibility as pet owners,” he said.

4Alderman Tony Fields said Cable One hired an additional local master technician to assist with any needs customers may have, and those with questions or concerns should contact 601-442-5418.

“They don’t know what’s wrong unless you tell them,” he said.