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Plans being drawn for upgrading Natchez-Adams County parks' ballfields
from Staff Reports - NEWS
September 17, 2019 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – Plans are underway for enhancing ballparks at Duncan and Liberty parks in Natchez.

The Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission has blueprinted various options to present in the near future, said county Supervisor Mike Lazarus. He displayed drafted depictions Monday of what could be in the offing. The Recreation Commission has what Lazarus said are “basic, silver and gold” propositions for improving the park facilities.

“They will give you a lot of options,” he told the other county supervisors at their Monday meeting.

In consolidating their recreation efforts in 2015, the county Board of Supervisors and Natchez Board of Aldermen each pledged to put up $100,000 annually for recreation construction. The most visible new recreation structure is the Natchez-Adams County pool that was built last year at Liberty Park

Adams County supervisors in recent months have expressed disappointment in the lack of progress upgrading other recreation facilities at the city-owned Duncan Park and county-owned Liberty Park. Lazarus showed drawings Monday that included layouts of a new baseball field at Duncan Park’s back side and an improved baseball venue where Natchez and Cathedral high schools play at Liberty Park. A girls softball venue is also in the redevelopment mix for Liberty Park.

The city-county governments could borrow money through a bond issue, Lazarus said, to pay for the construction and repay the money in annual installments with the funds already committed by the recreation compact formed by Natchez-Adams County officials in 2015.

In addition to the $100,000 each pledged annually for infrastructure, the county board each year is to allocate $334,000 to combine with $550,000 from the city board for the recreation commission to appropriate.

The county and city boards last week approved their budgets for operating all programs and services for Adams County and Natchez during the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. County supervisors budgeted to spend about $29.3 million, down about $384,000 from the fiscal year fiscal nearing its end Sept. 30. City aldermen budgeted to spend about $36.6 million for the coming year, a reduction from the $37.4 million in expenditures budgeted this current year.

The YMCA was being paid about $100,000 a year to manage recreation programs for Natchez and Adams County, but the city-county contract with the suburban Jackson-based organization expired in March without it being renewed. There were concerns expressed about the lack of accountability of what it was doing for recreation.

The Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission is the actual agency that operates rec programs funded by the county and city boards. However, the nine-member commission earlier this year struggled to get enough members to show up for meetings and was slow in getting bills paid, according to county officials. Commission members are appointed by Adams county supervisors and Natchez aldermen. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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