City considers purchasing private lot off Broadway Street

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 1, 2018


NATCHEZ — Natchez is trying to retrieve the “missing piece” of bluff property in the form of a privately owned parking lot and surrounding green space off Broadway Street.

Natchez aldermen voted unanimously Thursday to get an appraisal of the property and pursue an option to purchase the space, which is adjacent to the old Broadway Street depot and belongs to members of the Callon family via Riverview Properties LLC.

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The mayor and board of aldermen discussed the matter behind closed doors — citing the potential purchase of property as an exception to the Open Meetings Act — to discuss potentially acquiring the property, which the Callon family has owned for many years.

After the private discussion, officials emerged and city attorney Bob Latham announced the city would seek an appraiser to value the property to determine a reasonable price for the city to offer to buy it.

Despite its private status, public visitors to the bluff had commonly used the parking lot until the owners unexpectedly roped off the lot in May. Now, as the city plans to develop the bluff in coordination with Natchez’s new downtown master plan, Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said he hopes to reacquire what was once city-owned property.

County land transactions and a report in the June 13, 1984, Natchez Democrat show the city sold the property to Sim Callon on June 12, 1984, for $37,333.

In 2015, land transactions show the property was deeded over to Riverview Properties LLC.

“There’s potential development to enhance city services for this city recreationally,” Grennell said. “It would be an asset to the city, and it’s something that should have been acquired a while back.”

Attorney Scott Slover, who represents Riverview Properties, said his clients would consider negotiations once the city carries out an appraisal.

“We want to help the city out as much as we can, of course … We are interested in seeing what the city has to say,” Slover said.

Until the lot was blocked off with “no trespassing” signs, many people did not even realize that section of land was private property, Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard said Wednesday.

Latham said the city would now seek between a four- and six-month option to purchase the parking lot and adjacent green space, which will give the city time to appraise the property and figure out a way to purchase the land.