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City Council Building Becoming a Danger to the Board, Has Pieces Falling Off, Council OKs Repairs

By John Mott Coffey, with News Mississippi affiliate WQNZ

NATCHEZ, Miss.–Long-overdue repairs should soon start for the crumbling building where the Natchez mayor and Board of Aldermen meet.

“We’re doing something for this building that’s been delayed for too many years,” said Mayor Butch Brown.

The board has agreed to spend about $100,000 to refurbish the Council Chamber building’s  exterior. Its white stucco is falling off  “to the point that it’s become dangerous to the public,” said Alderman Dan Dillard.

The structure is also being damaged by rain leaks and needs new window fixtures, which are rotting from moisture damage. Some windows are even falling out.

In addition to having its stucco restored, the building will be waterproofed and painted. “We will replace or repair everything exterior, including the doors downstairs front and back,” Brown said.

The structure across from City Hall houses municipal offices and the Board of Aldermen’s meeting room.

Declaring it an emergency to enable the board to skirt the time-consuming competitive bidding process, city officials are contracting R.L. Blanton Construction to do the work.

The board voted last week to fund the building repairs on the condition money is available. The city’s public properties fund currently doesn’t have the money for this, but Dillard said it will.

Money from Natchez’ building fund went to repairing the city-owned Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center, but the city will be reimbursed by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The state historic preservation agency awarded the city a grant of about $140,000 for fixing Margaret Martin’s leaky roof and deteriorating masonry.

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