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Natchez fire station needs repairs to conform to fire-safety code
from Staff Reports - NEWS
March 29, 2017 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The city’s fire station on Vaughn Drive is in such bad shape it’s violating health and fire-safety codes and needs about $500,000 for various repairs.

“The living condition (for the firefighters) is horrible,” said Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell.

The Board of Aldermen, after hearing of a report Tuesday about the fire station, voted to begin the process for applying for state-federal funds to rehabilitate the north Natchez facility, which is one of the city’s four fire stations.

If the city does apply for and receive the Community Development Block Grant, the board would be required to provide about half of the estimated $477,000 needed for the fire station, said James Johnston, the city’s community development director.

Aldermen on Tuesday agreed to hold a public hearing in April before deciding whether to apply for the CDBG money in May.

Grennell said he’ll ask the Adams County Board of Supervisors to provide some money for the local match. The Natchez Fire Department also responds to calls outside the city. The county board pays Natchez about $600,000 for this service.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the mayor and Board of Aldermen received two proposals for refurbishing the old Natchez General Hospital. The city-owned building on Oak Street has been vacant for several years and needs renovation.

The board will consider two plans: one by Magnolia Medical Foundation to convert it into apartments for elderly people and another by New Direction Outreach Ministries to house programs for underprivileged people.

Since acquiring it in 2013 after the previous owner defaulted on paying taxes, the city has been trying to find a developer to restore and repurpose the 92-year-old building. It was Natchez’ main hospital until 1960.

Catholic Charities was the old General Hospital’s most recent occupant. It had a shelter for battered families there until about five years ago. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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