Natchez has a lot of cleaning up to do

Published 12:08 am Thursday, September 15, 2011

My family and I awoke on a recent morning to another gorgeous day with blue skies and perfect temperature for a walk.

The new Natchez Trails Project has added a much-needed boost to our scenic river views and an informative, fun and new attraction for tourists and locals alike. We have thoroughly enjoyed living downtown and taking daily walks with our new son. However, antebellum homes, scenic river views and friendly neighbors are only a few of the sites that we encounter on these daily walks.

This morning I was greeted by Bud Light cans, candy wrappers, a discarded FedEx box, Coke bottles and a variety of other trash items strewn about the trail.

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Some days are worse than others, but a significant presence of litter is a constant. My path also takes me by several other interesting landmarks that tourists and visitors also have the pleasure of viewing.

Some of these landmarks include a nearly destroyed red caboose with blue tarps on top, a running fountain with black mold and alarmingly green water, a landmark sign with duct tape running nearly the entire length of the sign, and several steps on the gazebo that were left unpainted after being repaired.

This does not include the blighted property on Broadway that could fall down any moment, but (according to the public notice) is scheduled for minor repairs including a painted metal roof. The scheduled repairs should keep it barely standing for four or five more years.

We also walk by a portion of the trail that houses a large dump truck, an empty backhoe and three-foot tall weeds. Continuing farther, we walk by an empty parking lot that (once upon a time) was scheduled for development, but now stands idle.

Incidentally, there are “No Parking” signs posted in the empty undeveloped “parking lot” that is apparently only suited for parking cars.

We have a lot of work that needs to be done in and around Natchez to make it a thriving tourist destination with good public schools and legitimate employment opportunities for those wishing to move back to Natchez and call it home.

My observations this morning reflect the need for all of us to have a sense of pride and awareness for our landmarks and tourist attractions that are the lifeblood of this community.

I refuse to believe that nothing can be done to remedy the issues that I have mentioned in this article, as well as other issues plaguing the city.

Positive steps have been taken to bring new industry and tourism to Natchez, and by anyone’s measure, Natchez has the potential to be a thriving tourist destination with a high quality of life for it’s citizens.

However, we can never really move forward if we can’t even keep our streets and walkways clean and visually appealing.

We have to hold our elected officials and each other accountable if we are going to get what everyone seems to so desperately want.

Ashton James

Natchez resident