Bean field to become city property July 15

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, July 7, 2015

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez will officially receive the deed to the bean field property July 15.

The ceremony, which will be 10 a.m. in the City Council Chambers, will include attendees from the secretary of state’s office, the Mississippi department of transportation and local officials.

The culmination of two decades of lobbying, the transfer of the land once intended for the southern terminus of the Natchez Trace has already passed from the hands of the National Park Service to the State of Mississippi. The Trace terminus bypasses the field and ends at Liberty Road.

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Because the National Park Service does not buy or sell land, getting the property back into the state’s possession —with the intention of giving it back to the city — required an act of Congress, which happened in 2013.

“We pushed hard to get it through Congress to have those parcels returned to the state and then ultimately to the city, and we are very proud of that accomplishment,” Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said.

The transfers will include three parcels, lots of 21.4 acres, 37.09 acres and 29.9 acres.

The legislation that allows the state to give the land back to Natchez has restrictions limiting the 21- and 37-acre parcels for recreational or educational uses, said former city attorney Walter Brown, who has worked on the bean field project for many years.

The third parcel will be transferred to the city with the requirement that it be sold and the proceeds split three ways:

–One third will be used for the historic Natchez riverfront

–One third will be used for infrastructure and other costs as contributions to capital projects by the National Park Service in Adams County

–One third will be use for infrastructure and other costs as contributions to capital projects by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Adams County

The third parcel is across U.S. 84/U.S. 61 from the other properties near Walmart.

“The city needs to be thinking in terms of how that sale will take place, and the good news is that property will go back on the tax rolls after more than 40 years of being owned by the U.S. government,” attorney Brown said.

While no definite plans have been made for the bean field property, it has been the proposed location for a city-county recreation complex for several years and is near the proposed property at Liberty Park being discussed for a pool and soccer fields as part of the city-county plan.