City seeks planning commission member

Published 3:34 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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NATCHEZ — The Natchez Planning Commission seeks a new member.

Deborah Martin, who has been a planning commission member since 1992, has resigned, said Frankie Legaux, city planner.

Those interested in serving on the city’s planning commission have until 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, to submit a resume indicating interest and qualifications to Mayor Dan Gibson’s office.

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The planning commission meets the third Thursday of each month in the council chambers. The commission makes decisions on whether the city’s zoning, planning and subdivision codes are followed.

Ward 5 Alderman Ben Davis chaired Tuesday’s meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. Gibson was out of town and Mayor Pro Tem Sarah Carter Smith could not attend because of a family matter.

Aldermen gave approval for the Natchez Historic Foundation, which manages the city-owned historic home Auburn, and architect Melinda Stewart Architects to move forward with advertising for a general contractor to make repairs and renovations at the property.

Those projects include replacing stucco on the columns on the front of the home, as well as recreating column bases, design of which were lost for more than a century. The project also calls for structural repairs and stabilization at the Billiard Hall, as well as window and exterior restoration. The pavilion will receive new electrical wiring and lighting, a new roof, repair of deteriorated wood rafters and decking and new handicapped accessible restrooms.

Ward 3 Alderman Billie Joe Frazier complained the city is spending too much money on Auburn.

“We are spending a lot of money out there. We spend tons and tons of money. I thought we had alleviated the problem out there. That’s why this board seems like it is so hesitant. We have spent plenty of money out there on Auburn. We need some kind of accountability,” Frazier said.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Felicia Bridgewater-Irving also questioned spending money on repairing the columns at the antebellum home. She said the city has already done that once.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Valencia Hall reminded the two the money to fund the project is part of a Mississippi Department of Archives and History 2022 Community Heritage grant and the city’s match is only 20 percent.

In other business, aldermen:

• approved several watershed protection projects to repair areas of erosion in the city.

• approved advertising for general contractors for the Concord Avenue and West Stiers Lane drainage projects, both being paid for by state funds.

• approved naming James Johnston as administrator for the Silver Street Retaining Wall project, which is being funded predominantly by the Delta Regional Authority. The city’s match on the project is $127,672.

• heard a report from Ryan Porter, parks and recreation director, about the success thus far of registration of the Natchez Youth Sports baseball program.

Porter said registration continues for the baseball league for ages 3 through 12.

“We are currently searching for sponsors, coaches and volunteers and we have had unbelievable support over the last 12 hours. My phone has been blowing up. I think our community is ready for this,” Porter said.

Those interested can register online at, he said.

Porter also introduced Dillon Butler as assistant parks and recreation director.