City looking to replace Learneds Mill poles

Published 12:01 am Thursday, January 5, 2012

ERIC SHELTON /THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — A broken light pole on Learneds Mill Road is down to barely more than a nub.In hopes of deterring vandalism, the City of Natchez is planning to construct taller polls.

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez is planning to light up Learneds Mill Road, and officials say they hope taller light poles will curb vandalism that destroyed the previous poles.

Natchez City Engineer David Gardner said the traffic department has replaced the decorative-style light poles three times in the last 12 years.

“They kept getting destroyed,” he said. “We decided several years ago that there was no use in going in and spending tax dollars if (the poles) are just going to be destroyed weeks later.”

Gardner said he believes the city will now install tall standard light poles on Learneds Mill to keep the lights out of vandals’ reach.

The city, Gardner said, considered the option of recycling the extra poles from the medians of John R. Junkin and Seargent S. Prentiss drives, but he said that would actually cost the city more money.

“When you look at the costs of getting those poles ready to fit the existing foundation, it’s just cheaper to buy new poles,” Gardner said.

Gardner said he recalls that purchasing and installing poles in past years added up to approximately $1,400 for each pole.

Gardner said his staff can probably come up with a cheaper alternative when they look at options for new poles this month.

Mayor Jake Middleton, who initially asked Gardner to look into replacing the lights, said Learneds Mill Road has been without light poles for too long and needs the lights for safety reasons.

“We have several residents that live on the road,” he said. “There’s also an increase of activity on the bluff with the Natchez Trails Project. I think now is a good time to think about putting lights there.”

Gardner said the city is busy with several projects at the moment, but he said the lights could feasibly be put up in February or March.