Supervisors, aldermen discuss possible ways to fund area recreation

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, February 19, 2019


NATCHEZ — Many people in Natchez and Adams County would like to see more recreational facilities in the area.

Adding such amenities, however, costs money.

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During a joint meeting with the Natchez Board of Aldermen and Adams County Board of Supervisors last week, officials agreed they’d like to seek funding opportunities — including federal grants and even taking out a bond — for a more widespread progression of enhancements to the recreational offerings in the community.

For the past three years, both boards each agreed to invest $100,000 per year into the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission fund that is earmarked for capital improvements; however, the biggest spending point so far has been a community swimming pool off Liberty Road, officials said.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen recently passed a motion to pursue a grant to add improvements to the pool through the Land Water Conservation Fund program that caps out at $175,000 with a 50-percent match rate. The funding, however, would not be enough to add a cover to the pool, officials said.

District 1 Supervisor, Mike Lazarus, and District 5 Supervisor, Calvin Butler, both said they believe a bond issue could cover improvements at county and city parks and ball fields without putting a strain on taxpayers by simply using the two $100,000 annual commitments to pay off the bond.

“What I recommend is that we get a list of everything we want to be done … and let that $200,000 service a bond issue and get everything done at one time,” Lazarus said. “We will get a better price if we have one fencing company or one sod company come in and do all of the fields at one time. … We’ve been budgeting this money, but we haven’t been spending it.”

In addition to the $100,000 the county invests in capital improvements, the county allocates $334,000 each year for recreational improvements, which Butler said he would like to see spent on multiple projects besides the pool.

“I think it would be easier to go out and float a bond,” Butler said, “and see how much it would be and for how many years and see if we can get all of our baseball fields done and anything dealing with recreation done at once and call it a day.”

In addition to upgrading the parks and ball fields, Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said he hopes to get a heating mechanism and at least a temporary cover for the community pool — one that would lay flat on the surface to prevent heat from escaping when not in use — and build a fitness center that the community could use free of charge.

“Those are things I’d like to see happen in the next year or so,” Grennell said. “I think it would be wonderful to get a bond issue and get it all done. … I would entertain the idea. … I believe that the majority of the (Board of Aldermen) feels the same way.”