Community celebrates bandstand, bridge, donation at event
Published 12:01 am Friday, October 10, 2014
NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez started the celebration of its tricentennial with the dedication of one legacy project, the start of another and the announcement of a donation.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated bandstand on the Natchez bluff, Mayor Butch Brown announced the city had received a $15,000 check from Volkert, Inc., to go toward the city’s 2016 tricentennial planning.
Volkert is an Alabama-based construction firm that does business in Natchez, Brown said.
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The bandstand renovation was a $44,000 project backed by the Community Alliance, the Natchez Rotary Club, the Adams County Master Gardeners, the City of Natchez and others, John Holyoak with the Community Alliance said.
The alliance’s project for 2015 will be the construction of a deck overlooking the Mississippi River on the lower level of the Natchez Trails, he said.
The ceremony also served as the groundbreaking for the Bridge of Sighs project, which will connect both sides of the bluff with a walking bridge that crosses Roth Hill road.
When it is completed, the Bridge of Sighs will be the third bridge to bear that name in Natchez.
Historic Natchez Foundation Director Mimi Miller said the bridge was named after a famous structure in Venice, Italy.
When the first Bridge of Sighs was built in Natchez is in question, but historic sketches establish its presence by 1855, Miller said.
The first bridge collapsed in 1880, but the city replaced it with a more utilitarian structure. The second bridge was closed approximately a century ago, when Roth Hill Road became impassable, she said.
The $700,000 bridge project is funded by grants from the Federal Highway Administration and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Brown said the projects celebrated Thursday were meant to be legacies of the tricentennial people can enjoy for years.
“The goal of what we are putting together for the tricentennial is for it to continue every day after the 366 days of tricentennial,” Brown said.
“We want this whole park, from Rosalie to Madison Street, to be come an open-air gathering place for people.”
For Natchez’s tricentennial to be a success, more volunteers will be needed, Brown said.
“Anything you can do or any ideas that you have, we want you to give those to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau or (Tricentennial Director) Jennifer Ogden Combs.
“If you will give your time, I think you will find that Natchez will be bigger and better for it.”