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City to seek federal funds to heat Natchez-Adams County pool
from Staff Reports - NEWS
February 28, 2019 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – City officials are applying for federal funds to heat and cover the new Natchez-Adams County pool that opened last year.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen plans to pursue the money to help pay for what’s estimated to cost up to $268,000 for the pool enhancement. The city could have to chip in up to $56,000 that would be combined with a same amount from the Adams County Board of Supervisors to match the federal grant, said Community Development Director James Johnston.

Federal funds are provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior to enhance recreation areas. About $1 million is allocated to Mississippi for the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to distribute statewide in the coming year, according to Johnston.

Total cost estimates he presented to the city board Tuesday included a lesser cost of about $217,000 for heating the pool but without a flat cover over the pool.

The newly built community pool opened in June 2018. The city and county boards joined in coming up with the money for the aquatic center at Liberty Park. The pool costs about $838,000 to build. An adjacent structure for concessions and restrooms cost about $500,000.

The pool is currently closed for the winter, but city and county officials have been discussing for more than a year how to heat or cover the pool so it can operate year-round.

Natchez has only one city employee capable of repairing traffic lights, and it could be “catastrophic” if a stop light goes out at a busy intersection and that person is not available to fix it, said Mayor Darryl Grennell.
 
To remedy that, Board of Aldermen decided Tuesday to move more aggressively to hire someone to augment the city’s traffic signal maintenance staff. While the board has budgeted to have three on the staff, there is just the one qualified technician working, said Public Works Supervisor Justin Dollar. He noted the city has struggled to find someone qualified to fill the vacancy.
 
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The Natchez Convention Center’s schedule this year includes 13 noteworthy conferences that will bring hundreds of visitors and thousands of dollars for local businesses, according to a report presented Tuesday to the city Board of Aldermen.
 
“We’re very excited about 2019,” said convention center general manager Walter Tipton.
 
Groups that have reserved the facility for meetings include the Mississippi Historical Society, which is bringing an expected 200 people today through the weekend; the state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, which plans to gather 400 people next week; and the Mississippi National Guard, which has about 850 attendees expected in April.
 
The city-owned convention center is managed by Tipton through a contract the Board of Aldermen has had for several years with a company led by Warren Reuther, who also owns the Natchez Grand Hotel and Monmouth Historic Inn and Gardens.
 
In highlighting the Natchez Convention Center’s business for the past year, Reuther and Tipton reported that the facility had more than 24,000 attendees and generated more than $5.7 million for the Natchez economy. However, the expenses of operating the center in 2018 exceeded its income, resulting in a loss of nearly $29,000. Operating expenses totaled almost $676,200 while revenues fell behind at nearly $647,500.






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