Renovating the golf clubhouse: We need YOU!

Published 10:53 pm Saturday, December 16, 2023

Since we began the Natchez Renewal together almost four years ago, one of our main priorities has been making a significant investment in recreation.  As I ride around the city to all our local parks, it is so wonderful to see children playing on brand new playground equipment.  The renovations to our baseball fields and the North Natchez Youth Center have been completed, and our beautiful new tennis courts are ready for play.  We created the first City of Natchez Recreation Department in over a decade, and it is now fully staffed and operating wonderfully.  While all of this is fantastic news for the health and wellness of the citizens of Natchez, we are not finished.  Our next project is restoring the Duncan Park Golf Clubhouse.

Natchez boasts one of the best municipal golf courses you can find in the region.  Greg Brooking and his staff have done a wonderful job in providing a property that is not only a pleasure to play but also very affordable.  Each year, several tournaments come to the Duncan Park Golf Course bringing hundreds of participants of all skill levels to enjoy its beautifully manicured fairways set amongst ancient trees and beautiful flowering plants.  In between tournaments, locals and tourists alike enjoy casual rounds in a setting that only Natchez can offer.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the indoor facilities at the Duncan Park Clubhouse.  We are in serious need of renovations to our bathrooms, common areas, and pro shop.  Partnering with Belinda Stewart Architects, we have a phased approach of turning this building into an attractive space with the amenities that this attraction deserves.  In our first phase, we will focus on brand new bathroom facilities and improvements to both our pro shop and our player’s lounge.  This building was recently added as a Mississippi Landmark as it once was a facility of the United States Naval Reserve.  It is only proper that we honor this building’s unique history with an appropriate renovation.

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On January 16th, 2024, we will be opening bids for our Golf Clubhouse Renovation!  The city did include close to one million dollars in funding for this project through both a recreation bond and a capital improvements bond, but, due to inflation in building costs, we are a few dollars short in what is needed to make this project a reality.  Thankfully, a very generous local donor has pledged a dollar for dollar $50,000 match to help us reach the final $100,000 needed, so we can make this important project begin right away.  We also have the help and support of the Natchez Community Alliance which is spearheading our fundraising efforts.

Even if you are not a golfer, this is a much- needed economic driver that will help attract residents, businesses, and conventions.  Anyone who would like to donate to the project can do so online – the Community Alliance has set up an online portal for this project at https://givebutter.com/I6AB3s. Checks can also be sent to the Natchez Adams County Community Alliance Foundation at P.O. Box 130, Natchez, MS 39120-0130.  If you choose the latter, please put “Golf Clubhouse Fund” in the memo line.  These donations are tax deductible.  Let’s make this important part of the Natchez Renewal happen – because Natchez Deserves More!

Dan M. Gibson is mayor of Natchez.