Natchez Mayor Announces Great Start for 2024
Dan M. Gibson, Mayor of Natchez
2024 has been off to a great start for Natchez – in more ways than one, a couple million ways actually…
$2,037,000. This represents the dollar amount in grants announced already during 2024, both by the city and by our partners – a tremendous start to say the least! Last July, at my 2023 State of the City, I announced that we were approaching nearly $40 million in state and federal grants and appropriations awarded to the city and our partners since 2020 for projects in Natchez and Adams County. We have now surpassed that significant milestone, and our goal this year is to reach $50 million – and January has proven to be a great start!
Here is the list: $1,000,000, MDAH/ National Endowment for the Humanities for Jefferson College; $655,000, City of Natchez/ Natural Resources Conservation Service, Erosion Control for Natchez; $150,000, Natchez Historic Foundation/ National Trust for Historic Preservation, for Restoration of Beulah Baptist Church; $142,000, City of Natchez/ MDAH, Community Heritage Preservation Grant, for Phase I Restoration of Angelety House; and finally, $90,000, pending the approval of Adams County on behalf of the City of Natchez/ State Fire Marshall and MS Commissioner of Insurance, to help with the purchase of a new fire pumper truck.
It’s all about teamwork. And I want to take this opportunity to give thanks to a few folks who have been hard at work, even at times surprising us at City Hall with great news for Natchez. Katie Blount and her team at the MS Department of Archives and History are first on that list. Combined, MDAH has brought millions of dollars to Natchez-Adams County. Since 2019, seven historic projects have benefited from over $1.7 million in Community Heritage Preservation Grants – among them the restoration of City Hall, the pending improvements at Auburn and the Duncan Park Playground Pavilion, the restoration of the Depot (currently underway), and now the upcoming restoration of the Angelety House. Add to that $750,000 for the historic Natchez College, and over $10 million for a Historic Preservation Field School and Mississippi History Museum at Jefferson College, not to mention improved facilities now being planned for the Natchez Grand Village, and the numbers are astounding. We owe a debt of gratitude to MDAH, and partners like the State of Mississippi, the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, Entergy, the Lilly Foundation, and the General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Mississippi, who have made these significant contributions possible.
For help with erosion control, I must thank our United States Congressman Bennie Thompson and his staff, including his Natchez Field Representative Ms. Jaqueline Marsaw, for their help in securing a zero-match Federal grant to assist with erosion control at several Natchez locations, including New Beginnings Church, Old Washington Road, and Vine Street. This is the first zero-match grant of its kind the city has received since 2005, and it will help greatly. Over many years, the city has received millions from the Natural Resources Conservation Service for erosion control (EWP projects), and we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude also to Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker, and Rep. Michael Guest for their help on many past projects. Thanks also goes to state NRCS Director Kurt Readus and Mr. James Johnston on our Natchez team who work tirelessly on so many of these grant projects.
I also must mention Carter Burns, Mimi Miller, and their team at the Historic Natchez Foundation. Just a couple of weeks ago, I sent them an email I had received about a possible grant opportunity for Beulah Baptist Church, only to find out that, working with Pastor Johnathan Hargrave, Deacon Robert Morgan, and the church officers, they had already applied for it and were expecting an answer soon. On January 15, appropriately the very day we were celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Carter shared the news that the church had been awarded a $150,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation a much-needed restoration of its steeple and windows. This only adds to the millions of dollars the HNF has secured for Natchez over their 50 years of service. Combined, they have saved over 50 historic properties from demolition and listed over 1,000 historic buildings in the National Register of Historic Places. I cannot imagine Natchez without the Historic Natchez Foundation.
Lastly, I must thank MS Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney and our friends on the Adams County Board of Supervisors, along with our Fire Chief, Robert Arrington and Adams County Fire Coordinator Darryl Smith, for working to secure a $90,000 state grant to help purchase a greatly-needed new pumper truck for the Natchez Fire Department. Combined with city funds, this grant will help us continue to maintain the safety of our community – and it would not be happening without the support of so many working together. Natchez-Adams County: we continue to accomplish great things working as one. Because Natchez Deserves More. #NatchezStrong, #OnlyinNatchez, #OneNatchez