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Depot talks should not be private

Recent conversations about what to do with the former train depot on Broadway Street are welcome, particularly after two years of the building sitting idle.

The depot’s location at the trailhead of the Natchez Trails and in the center of Natchez’s most spectacular public place makes the building a critically important public building.

Aldermen are working on crafting a request for proposals to issue for the building soon. The hope is to find a good tenant for the building, one that will improve the building, get it back into use and hopefully enhance the Natchez tourism offering in the process.

But why on earth did the Natchez Board of Aldermen feel a discussion about creating a request for proposals had to be had behind closed doors?

Aldermen seem to be continuing their recent history of working the public’s interest in private.

Had the city been in negotiation with a prospective tenant over the terms of a lease, we understand the potential need for a little privacy.

But writing words to publicize the city’s intent to find a good developer for the building? That seems like something that could — and should — have been handled in the light of day.

It’s important for aldermen to remember that they work for us, representing the public’s interest. That doesn’t give them carte blanche to simply work as they see fit, in private.

We urge city aldermen to hold all future discussions about this important public building in the public.

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