City of Natchez refines plans for former train depot

Published 11:50 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2018


NATCHEZ — Aldermen discussed revising the city’s plan to attract an entrepreneur to occupy the Old Yazoo & Mississippi River Valley Depot building on Broadway Street Tuesday during the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting.

The 2,250 square-foot former depot building is part of the city’s master plan for revitalizing the downtown area by creating an entertainment district along the bluff and a historic/entertainment district at St. Catherine Street.

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During Tuesday’s meeting, aldermen agreed to include in the master plan a $1 per square foot commercial cost of $2,250 per month with a minimum lease agreement in the range of three to five years.

Chesney Doyle, chair of Mayor Darryl Grennell’s Depot Committee, said the revision would make the site more attractive to potential leasers.

No vote was taken and the board will review the revised material at a later meeting.

During discussion of the matter, Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard said he believes a café-style venue with extended hours from 7 a.m. to beyond 9 p.m. could fill the spot and would be beneficial for the area. Dillard said a restaurant or café would fit with the larger narrative for the downtown and bluff area.

“It could be a catalyst to create economic development along Broadway,” Dillard said.

Dillard said the board should make sure the developer has a success rate and a commitment to the area and a 10-year lease might be a better option for the city.

“What we’re trying to hedge against is someone who comes in there and runs it three days a week,” Dillard said.

In other action, the board:

  • Welcomed Claude Jackson of Natchez as the city’s director of network infrastructure and welcomed Denise Bell of Natchez deputy city clerk who replaces Diane Holland.
  • Unanimously agreed to advertise for bids for the purchase of radios that would bring Natchez Police Department into compliance with the Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN), a public safety communication system public safety communication system.
  • Unanimously approved a special permit for lighting the city’s new Christmas tree purchased for the city by Taco Bell for $27,500. The tree lighting will be on Nov. 24.
  • Unanimously agreed to allow Walmart to pay for off-duty police officers to provide security on Black Friday.
  • Met in executive session to discuss litigation, personnel and potential leasing of property. No action was taken.