Pastor seeks long-term lease from county for park

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, October 16, 2018


NATCHEZ — During Monday’s Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Rev. Melvin White unveiled long-range revision plans for Unity Park, a scenic recreational area located along Unity Lake.

White is a moderator for the Antioch Missionary Baptist Association, an association of approximately 80 Baptists churches with approximately 46 of them located in Adams County.

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White said he would like a long-term lease on the Unity Park property located near the Natchez-Adams County Airport on Airport Road, which he said is leased from the Natchez-Adams County Airport Commission for $600 annually.

White said he would like to make a large investment in additions to the property but he has no guarantee that the lease agreement always would be there.

White said the AMB is in the eighth year of a 20-year lease for the approximately 8 acre par,. White said he would like to see a new lease that exceeds 20 more years.

Upgrades and new development at Unity Park took place almost eight years ago, White said and his new plans are to enclose rafters to create an indoor kitchen and indoor bathrooms, extend the playground, add a pavilion for a covered stage, and to establish a bow-and-arrow and B.B. gun range for children.

White also said he wants to build a gazebo and a fishing pier along the lake, as well as create a sand beach area along an existing shallow water area, where there also would be a waterslide for children.

White said the AMB group would fund a portion of the project, but he also said they would look to the community for donations and volunteer labor to bring the plan to fruition as quickly as possible.

“This is the second phase, and we want to implement it all at once,” White said. “We want to begin the process to accumulate the things we need to do and find community help so we can do it at a cost not too great to the association.”

Foremost, White said he wants to preserve the sanctity of the park.

“You don’t have to be a member of AMB, but use has to be at the discretion of the church,” White said. “We don’t allow drinking or anything that doesn’t lead to building the kingdom.”

White also said he would like some authority over the lake.

“We don’t want it just open for parking without permission. We don’t want to have someone come in and destroy it,” he said. “We want to have fishing rodeos for the youth with a stocked lake.”

White said the property is under authority of the Natchez-Adams County Airport Commission and must meet their approval.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, he asked that the board give their support for the project before he enters into discussions with airport officials.

All supervisors present verbally gave support. Angela G. Hutchins, District 3, was absent. David Carter, District 2, said he would help put White in touch with the right people.

“Having y’all there brings structure to the park and will bless more people,” Carter said.

In other action during Monday’s regular meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, the board:

4Unanimously approved declaring a state of emergency for Scotland Drive because fire trucks do not have proper access.

4Unanimously approved a policy change that would require that 911 addresses only be issued in person to someone with a valid driver’s license.

4Unanimously approved hiring Shirley Ann Emercy as deputy clerk for the office of Peter Burns, tax collector, at an hourly rate of $10.65.