Mayor: Silver Street raising and dock plans moving forward

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2020

NATCHEZ — The plan to raise Silver Street and build three river cruise docks is “going forward,” Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson announced in Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

Gibson said he met recently with Viking USA, American Cruise Lines and American Queen who each pledged their support of the project along with business owners at Natchez Under the Hill and all affected property owners.

“We’ve just had an offer from American Cruise Lines to not only pay for the entirety for their dock but also to contribute a third of the cost of raising Silver Street and a challenge to the other companies to do the same,” Gibson said.

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After the meeting, Gibson said he did not yet have a firm estimate on the cost for constructing the docks and estimated rasing the road would cost approximately $750,000.

Gibson said the road project could break ground around June or July of 2022  when the river level is low and would take three to four months two complete once all plans, permitting and funding are in place.

Construction of the docks could take a bit longer and may not be finished until 2023, he said.

The American Cruise Line dock will be at the Ferry Street landing, the Viking USA dock south of the Ferry Street landing near the site of “Little Mexico” and the American Queen dock at the Fulton Street landing, Gibson said.

The heightened road would begin at Magnolia Grill and would able to withstand a cresting point just under 62 feet, which was the river level in the 2011 flood, Gibson said.

It will not affect the view of existing businesses and will include a sea wall on the riverside with a sidewalk along the top, Gibson said.

Silver Street would be converted into a two-way street during the construction process and revert back to one-way once the street is finished, he said.

All aspects of the project would be cleared through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gibson said.

In other matters during Tuesday’s meeting, the board:

4 Approved the hiring of architect Belinda Stewart at a rate of $4,800 to do an assessment of the Duncan Park golf clubhouse in order to seek grants and restore the facility.

The motion passed 5-1 with Alderman Billie Joe Frazier voting “nay.”

Frazier said the board would be better off building a new clubhouse instead of restoring the old one.

4 Agreed unanimously to allow the Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission to begin the funding and creation of a virtual reality experience for the Proud to Take a Stand Monument. NCPC chairman Lance Harris said the exhibit would focus on the history of the Parchman Ordeal in which hundreds of Natchezians were wrongfully incarcerated during a Civil Rights protest.

The exhibit would be downloadable from anywhere in the world through an app and could also serve as a promotional tool for Natchez, Harris said.

4 Unanimously approved a resolution to hire two appraisers for Margaret Martin. Half of the appraisal fee would be paid by the City of Natchez and the other half by the J Collection, a New Orleans based hotel group that has proposed buying the property renovating it as a multi-use extension of the hotel services at Dunleith.