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Margaret Martin building deserves protection

Last April, The City of Natchez agreed to spend approximately $56,000 to repair plumbing at the Margaret Martin building.

The decision came after the Mississippi Legislature failed to include funding for restoration of the building in the state’s appropriations bills.

The work was done and the facility was put to use hosting events and office space for the sole tenant, the Natchez Festival of Music.

Last week, however, officials with the Natchez Festival of Music discovered that over the holidays squatters had dound a way into the building and left much of the building in disarray.

Also, the squatters hasd destroyed much of the plumbing work by extricating copper and metal pipes apparently to sell for scrap.

We have long held the former Margaret Martin school building on Homochitto Street is a valuable historic building worthy of renovation and restoration to be used as a community center and entertainment venue.

It is disheartening to learn that the building left vacant for however short a period last month fell into the hands of desperate people who destroyed much of the newly installed plumbing at a great expense to taxpayers.

Friends of the Margaret Martin Building continue their fundraising efforts in hopes of seeing a complete restoration of the building, and we support them in those efforts, as we believe the former Margaret Martin school building will be a great community center and community resource.

We urge city officials, however, to consider stricter security measures at the facility to prevent such a disaster from occurring in the future.

Meanwhile, we hope the culprits can be found and brought to justice.