Bean field bill heads to Senate for approval

Published 12:10 am Friday, February 6, 2015

By Nita McCann

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — The bill that would give the state transportation director the power to transfer a plot of land next to Natchez High School to the City of Natchez was passed by committees Tuesday and now heads to the full Senate for approval.

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The Senate’s Highway and Transportation Committee passed SB 2455 on Tuesday.

“Now it goes before the full Senate,” said state Sen. Kelvin Butler, the bill’s author. He added that the measure could be passed by the Senate as early as Tuesday. From there, it would go to a committee in the House of Representatives

House Bill 787, introduced by state Rep. Robert Johnson is similar to SB 2455. The house bill, however, states that the 67-acre plot cannot be used for casino-related developments. Johnson could not be reached prior to press time.

The City of Natchez currently leases the property from the state. The property has been discussed by city officials since at least the late 1990s as a possible location for a new recreation complex.

Meanwhile, a bill that would authorize $6 million in general obligation bonds to fund improvements to the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center in Natchez awaits its turn.

That building has been the home of the Natchez Festival of Music since 1999.

“That would not be considered by a committee until later in the session. They leave fiscal measures until the end of the session,” Butler said. “It’s in the hopper, but it probably won’t come up for consideration until March,” he added.