City awards $2 million for part of North Natchez Drainage project
NATCHEZ — Tuesday evening, the city of Natchez awarded a $2 million bid for a portion of the last phase a project to enhance the safety of roadways in North Natchez that was never completed due to a shortage of funding, city officials said.
Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said funding for the “baseline” portion of the North Natchez Drainage project, which had been proposed in 2002, is available through federal, state and local avenues including the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi Department of Transportation and city dollars.
However, approximately $750,000 is still needed to finish out the remainder of the project, Grennell said.
The first phase of the project completed more than a decade ago included the replacement of underground drainage pipes and equipment on Canal, Madison, Wall and Oak streets, Grennell said, while the last phase is comprised of improvements to Marblestone Alley, Daisy Street, Inez Street, Brookview Lane, Brown Subdivision, Old Smith Lane as well as the construction of a retaining wall on Marblestone Alley.
“The project involves installing drainage systems in those areas, improving curbs, adding gutters, overlaying and — most importantly — widening the roads,” Grennell said. “Most of these roads are one-lane roads. … Primarily, this project is going to enhance safety for residents and those traveling these streets. … It’s long overdue.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Natchez Board of Aldermen unanimously awarded only the improvements on Marblestone Alley, Daisy Street, Inez Street and Brookview Lane to W.E. Blain and Sons Inc. for $2,124,656.25 and authorized City Attorney Bob Latham to seek financing arrangements for the remaining $750,000 needed to finish out improvements in Brown Subdivision, Old Smith Lane and the retaining wall on Marblestone Alley.
The additional work would cost $803,494.65, only $53,000 of which is available in the city’s budget, Grennell said, adding the city could afford to move forward with the construction of the Marblestone retaining wall without borrowing funds, which would cost approximately $34,000 by itself.
“I’ve requested that the board go ahead and award the base bids and to allow the City Attorney to find a vehicle we can use to finance the additional $750,000 we would need to finish out the project,” Grennell said.