Natchez awaits word on grant for new dock

Published 12:04 am Sunday, November 18, 2018

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez has applied for an $11.2-million grant for a docking facility that could increase tourism and help lead to city revitalization, a city official said.

The city applied in May for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation discretionary grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Interim City Clerk James Johnston said a decision on the grant application is expected in December.

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Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said that if received, the grant would be used to build a docking facility for riverboats and other large watercraft one of two locations along the riverfront.

Grennell said his administration has been pushing hard for a new docking facility, and he remains optimistic it will come to fruition soon.

“In the past week or so I’ve been told it looks favorable for it,” Grennell said. “I met with our delegation in D.C. on it to get their support and also the governor’s office has been contacted. I think it looks favorable for it, but I don’t want to build up any false hope.”

One dock already exists at Natchez Under-the-Hill at Silver Street, and officials said another site previously proposed for a future dock is at the foot of Roth Hill Road.

Grennell said no location has been decided upon for the proposed multi-use docking facility.

“That hasn’t been locked in,” Grennell said. “We’re looking at several possibilities. I’m not going to say where would be the best location. I think we just need to see if we are going to get the funding.”

Grennell said the proposed dock could facilitate more than just riverboats.

“There are several boats that could utilize the dock,” Grennell said. “From that spectrum, it’s important, but secondarily it could also be used as a dock for yachts that come down the river and other types of boats. It could create like a small marina that could create additional recreation to come up river.”

Grennell said the proposed dock also could lead to future growth.

“It could actually open up the door for future development of Natchez Under-the-Hill. I can actually visualize where we could come up with new development where we could recreate Water Street. It could come back to life,” Grennell said, of a historic street that was claimed by the river after changes were made to the river’s flow. “It could open the doors to future recreational development for the city, in terms of amusements or the development of parks or a venue for activities like an amphitheater.”