City earns $381,000 grant from Delta Regional Authority to stabilize declining brick wall Under the Hill

Published 7:14 pm Saturday, October 28, 2023

NATCHEZ — Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson and the Board of Aldermen learned this week the city has received a federal grant of $380,746 for the stabilization of a brick wall above Silver Street and behind some of the businesses Under-the-Hill on Silver Street.

“We have been concerned about the condition of the old brick retaining wall that helps support the steep hill portion of Silver Street from coming down from Broadway. Many years ago, the infrastructure of this street was replaced during a phase of the Bluff Stabilization Project. That historic brick wall, however, was left in place,” Gibson said.

In recent years, the old brick wall has been in a state of decline, he said.

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“If one was to walk along the river and look up at the wall, decay would be evident – and in time, if not corrected, this could lead to the failure of this portion of the street. This would have dire consequences for tourism in this area, the ability of cruise passengers to safely visit Natchez, and failure of this street could also jeopardize the businesses that are located in the Natchez Under the Hill District,” Gibson said.

Gibson said he reached out to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves in the spring and began working with the city’s contracted lobbyists and the Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District to try to secure money for the project.

He said he received word from the governor that the Silver Street Stabilization Project was one of seven projects in the state to be funded. The money is coming from the Delta Regional Authority’s State Economic Development Assistance program.

“This federal grant of $380,746, along with a local match of $127,672, now makes more than $500,000 available for this project. We will be working to dedicate more funds if needed. Saving Silver Street is too important,” Gibson said. “Together with the raising of Silver Street being planned for next year, these two projects will ensure the vitality of this historic street, the first and oldest street on the Mississippi River, for many more years to come.”

The mayor thanked Reeves, along with Dr. Corey Wiggins, federal co-chair of the Delta Regional Authority, and the city’s planning director and grants writer, James Johnston, and others.