Natchez considers borrowing money to improve 6 city parks

May 29, 2021 GMT

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) — Leaders of a Mississippi city say they might borrow $1.7 million to improve six local parks, with a goal of replacing old equipment.

Natchez aldermen have asked a law firm to prepare a proposal about the city taking on long-term debt, the Natchez Democrat reported.

“We have equipment that is approaching 40 years in age,” Mayor Dan Gibson said. “Some of it is dangerous and this will be a major step forward.”

Gibson said the city is in good financial shape, and he wants to borrow money before interest rates rise.

The wish list includes installing two $82,000 commercial play sets at Duncan Park and North Natchez Park.

Other possible upgrades include new grills, picnic tables, park benches and basketball goals; $250,000 of improvements to baseball fields; building a splash pad and restoring the old golf pro shop at Duncan Park and restoring the splash pad and youth center at North Natchez Park.

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In a separate project, Gibson said the city could use money already on hand to work immediately on park bathrooms that are not operational. Basketball hoops that were taken down to discourage gatherings during the pandemic will be reinstalled and eventually replaced by new basketball goals.

Alderwoman Valencia Hall said new playground equipment at Duncan Park would have Americans with Disabilities Act components so all children can use it.

Some ADA equipment would be introduced at all parks with the focus on Duncan Park because it is the most widely used, said the mayor’s assistant, Richard Burke.