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City prepares for next round of street repair program

Ward 2 Alderman Ricky Gray, who had several streets in his ward repaired last year, said he’s not concerned about any streets getting bumped up or down on the list.

“If a street gets bumped that’s probably because the street is worse than another one, and I want that fixed no matter what ward it’s in,” Gray said. “I don’t think you should be worrying about wards with something like this — fix the streets that are the worst.

“You can’t just let your infrastructure deteriorate because then it’s going to cost you more money later, so this is a good thing for the entire city.”

Ward 5 Alderman Mark Fortenbery said repairing Natchez’ streets is a no-brainer.

“Everybody is always concerned about the streets,” Fortenbery said, “But we have look at the funding for something like this. We want to fix the streets, but you also have to look at the other end, how we’re going to pay for it in lean economic times.”

The next step, however, is for the city’s engineering office to come back to the board with an updated list of streets in the worst shape.

“Some of the streets in my ward were fixed last year, but (the city engineer’s office is) going to go back and check on some,” Fortenbery said. “We’ll see what they come up with.”

One factor in ranking which streets need fixing first is the amount of traffic each handles, said Ward 4 Alderman Tony Fields.

Fields cited the example of Shaw Street.

“It’s not one of the bigger streets in Natchez, but it gets a lot of Natchez Transit traffic, and you’ve got to take that into account.”

Other Ward 4 streets Fields cited as needing repair included Brenham Avenue, Williams Street and East Oak Street, but he said the board will know more when the city engineer’s office is finished re-evaluating streets throughout the city.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis expressed her concerns about the street conditions in the city.

“We have been working on them and trying to put money into improving the street conditions in Natchez,” Arceneaux-Mathis said. “We have been trying to do what the budget can allow, and when we got blessed with the casino, we decided to do something with that lease money.”

Arceneaux-Mathis said the city is looking at how to evaluate the streets while focusing on those that need the most repair.

“I’ve been on tours in Beverly Hills, and I was on some of the worst streets while sitting aboard the tour bus,” Arceneaux-Mathis said. “Basically, every city you go into you’re going to have bad streets.”

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