Supervisors remove school-owned softball fields from recreation bond funding considerations

Published 5:52 am Tuesday, May 3, 2022

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NATCHEZ — The $5 million Adams County plans to borrow in a bond issue may not be used to redo softball fields near Natchez High School as supervisors had previously talked about.

During Monday’s meeting, Supervisor Ricky Gray pointed out that the fields were owned by the Natchez Adams School District and therefore moved to strike the softball fields from the minutes of a previous board meeting where the supervisors discussed the recreation bond.

Gray said he didn’t recall talking about the softball fields. He added there are a lot of things the bond money could be used for that are county-owned.

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“If I had been a part of that discussion, I would’ve let this board know that we don’t own it,” he said. “We got a lot of stuff to do in the county.”

Supervisor Kevin Wilson said he wasn’t aware of who owned the fields but believed they were part of the bond. Officials said they needed to discuss the state of the softball fields with the school board.

“Somebody needs to do something because it’s falling apart,” Wilson said. “Our kids need something to do in Adams County. If they don’t want to do it, I’d love to see us work out some sort of agreement or take ownership of it and us do it.”

Other items on the county’s to-do list with the bond money include work at the county-owned Chester Willis baseball stadium, the rodeo venue, county parks, and the Lagrange and Providence community centers as well as digitizing county documents. Whatever funds remain, which are estimated to be over $2 million, are slated to help resurface county roads.

Resurfacing Morgantown Road is high on officials’ priority list. However, there are other roads county-wide on the road department’s work schedule that supervisors say the bond money would be used for so that no preference is given to any particular district over the others.

Morgantown Road—which is highly traveled, narrow and prone to flooding—has been a topic of concern for public officials and Adams County residents for more than a decade.

Officials said they haven’t stopped looking at other funding avenues for the $4.5 million road resurfacing project.

Gray asked Monday if Morgantown Road could be put into an application for an Emergency Road and Bridge grant. The applications are due Sunday. Officials said while the grant name says its roads and bridges, bridges have more preference for the awards.

The supervisors unanimously agreed to submit York Road bridge and Morgantown Road on the application. There is no cost for applying, officials said.

“If we can’t get it from (the grant), we can borrow against the use tax fund,” Gray said. “It needs to happen right now.”

Supervisor Warren Gaines, whose district shares Morgantown Road with Gray, said the board was doing everything they can for Morgantown Road.

“A lot of people are saying ‘I’m disappointed in y’all.’… I want to reassure those people that we are looking at avenues to get Morgantown Road done,” Gaines said.