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Natchez bluff brush being cleared out
from Staff Reports - NEWS
January 23, 2019 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The city is clearing out trees and brush along the bluff, a project the mayor said is essential to stabilizing the erosion-prone section overlooking the Mississippi River.

“This is something that is definitely needed,” said Mayor Darryl Grennell. “Vegetation has taken over.”

While thinning out the vegetation on the slopes below Broadway Street can enhance the view of the river, Grennell said, it’s also essential to preserve the bluff’s integrity.

With the bluff imperiled by erosion for many years, the city in the 1990s embarked on a multimillion-dollar stabilization project to ensure more land did not slide away. About $26 million in federal funds was allocated for measures that included the construction of the retaining wall now bracing the bluffs.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved spending about $70,000 to cut trees and brush along the slope between the river and the nature trail at the foot of the wall from Silver Street to Clifton Avenue. This should take about 20 days and will not disturb the soil, said city Public Works Supervisor Justin Dollar. This will be done upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ OK.

The Natchez riverfront is considered one of the city’s greatest assets.

In a related move for enhancing the bluff area, the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday extended the deadline for proposals to be submitted for completing the long-stalled renovation of Natchez’ old Broadway Street railroad depot.

Requests for proposals are being sought from private developers who want to refurbish the city-owned building for dining like it was for much of the past 40 years. The board on Tuesday agreed to push the previous March submission date to May to give prospective developers more time.

City officials envision the now-empty depot to become a “café-style venue” offering outdoor dining for patrons to enjoy the bluff’s view overlooking the Mississippi River. Plans and terms for what bidders should go by when submitting proposals for the depot’s full restoration and use have been made public.

The 109-year-old depot’s rebirth is considered by city officials the spark for transforming the Natchez Bluff area into a new “entertainment district” that runs the length of Broadway Street.

The former train station was vacated in 2013 when a restaurant and shop were evicted so the building could be renovated. About $900,000 was spent in city and federal funds to restore the exterior in 2016, but the building has since remained an unfinished shell.

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The Natchez Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved rezoning land by The Vue Hotel for a residential personal care facility to be built. Developer Butch Johnson said more than $1 million will be spent for the new structure, which will occupy the site where the old Ramada Inn’s annex once stood but was leveled a few years ago.




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