City planning for Memorial Park renovations

Published 12:06 am Saturday, June 1, 2013

NATCHEZA plan is in the works to polish and revamp Memorial Park into an improved, more child-friendly area, in time for the city’s 2016 tricentennial celebration.

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown and Historic Natchez Foundation Executive Director Mimi Miller say plans are still on the drawing board, but good progress is being made toward improving the park.

The City of Natchez recently revived an “adopt-a-brick” program through its planning and community development department, allowing donors to purchase a brick to be placed in the park in honor of a veteran or loved one. The city also cleaned and repainted the fountain pool in the park, Brown said. New donated benches were also placed in the park.

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But Brown said there are many more improvements to the park that are being planned with HNF, adding Memorial Park to the mayor’s list of “legacy projects” for the tricentennial.

Miller said proposed improvements include improving and matching the park’s walkways.

“Right now it’s kind of cobbled together,” she said. “You have the memorial bricks, then there’s a hodgepodge of paving in various conditions.”

Improvements also include adding a swing set or two and perhaps climbing apparatuses for children.

“We want it to have a little more focus on children,” Miller said. “I’ve heard lots of people in the neighborhood comment that they wish there was things kids could do in the park.”

Other improvements, Miller said, include rearranging benches, adding landscaping and interpretative panels educating the public on the history of the park as a cemetery.

All of the improvements, Miller said, would maintain the historic character of the park.

Brown said the city is also partnering with Entergy to relight the park.

Brown said he is eager see the master plan outlining the improvements to the park.

“All of the improvements will be appropriate for the historic character of Memorial Park and have the fingerprints from everyone from Entergy to every brick-buyer that’s part of the effort,” he said.