Natchez OK’s pinwheel display on Natchez bluff

Published 5:54 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2020

NATCHEZ — Alongside the Natchez’s Christmas decorations that are on display on the Natchez bluff this season will be reminders of children who have suffered from abuse.

During a Tuesday meeting, Catherine McPhate, executive director of Natchez Children’s Services, asked for city officials’ permission to display 285 pinwheels and a banner on the Natchez bluff near the entrance to Silver Street to raise awareness of child abuse.

McPhate said Natchez Children’s Services is a children’s advocacy center for victims of sexual and physical abuse as well as neglect.

The 285 pinwheels represents 285 abused children across the five counties that Natchez Children’s Services serves, including Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Claiborne and Wilkinson counties.

McPhate said the display would be up for the entire month of December and again during April for National Child Abuse Prevention Month, reminding those who see the cheerful display of pinwheels to report abuse and help ensure every child is raised in a safe environment.

The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to allow the display during Tuesday’s meeting.

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

* Entered into executive session to discuss city personnel and interview four applicants for Natchez Police Chief. Officials said a total of 36 applications had been vetted for the position. The search had been narrowed down by the civil service committee and the city’s police committee to four finalists. The interview process is not open to the public.

* Unanimously allowed two off-duty police officers to assist filmmakers with redirecting traffic during filming this week with all work expenses paid by film producers.

Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong said filming would take place in the area of Lower Woodville Road and Government Fleet Road from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Armstrong said those who are driving in those locations would need to slow down, proceed with caution and maybe look at alternate routes they could take if possible while filming is in progress.

* Unanimously approved a proposal to add LED ground lighting around the Proud to Take a Stand monument, which acknowledges those who were wrongfully incarcerated during a Civil Rights demonstration in 1965.

Officials said the names of some individuals involved in the demonstration had been omitted when the monument was engraved, including a relative of Alderwoman Felicia Irving.

Officials set aside $5,000 to add names, however, said it would not be possible to add names to the monument itself and would need a separate addition to the monument.

* Unanimously approved a change order for the North Natchez Drainage Project in the amount of $104,978.98. Tramone Smith with WGK engineering said during construction around Marblestone Road and Brookview Drive, it was found that a concrete layer covered underground sewage lines and removing the concrete increased the project cost.

The approximately $3 million project to improve drainage systems along several streets in the northern part of Natchez began in 2018 and is projected to be finished in June 2021, Smith said. The project is funded through U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi Department of Transportation grants as well as bank financing.