NATCHEZ — U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) says the citizens of Natchez will benefit from the culmination of a legislative effort he started to convey surplus federal property from the Natchez Trace Parkway to the state of Mississippi.
Cochran joined Natchez Mayor Butch Brown and other officials for a signing ceremony at which Natchez Trace Parkway Superintendent Mary Risser, on behalf of the National Park Service, formally returned approximately 67 acres of surplus federal property to the State of Mississippi. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann accepted the quitclaim deed for the state.
“The conveyance of this property is an example of federal, state and local governments coming together to benefit Mississippi,” Cochran said. “With this land transfer, the city of Natchez will now have an opportunity to utilize the ‘bean field’ property to meet the community’s needs. The state will also have a property that it can use for purposes that benefit the state and this community.”
The signing ceremony culminates a legislative effort launched by Cochran during the 112th Congress to authorize the transfer of the surplus property to the state of Mississippi and city of Natchez. Cochran reintroduced the Natchez Trace Parkway Conveyance Act (S.304) in the 113th Congress and that bill was signed into law on Sept. 18, 2013. Approximately 37 acres adjacent to Natchez High School, known as the “bean field,” would be allotted to Natchez for community use. Under the law, the state would hold title to 30 acres, known as the Feltus property.
Cochran undertook the land conveyance effort at the request of local leaders. The senator thanked U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) for cosponsoring S.304, and credited Congressman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) for shepherding the bill through the House of Representatives. The National Park Service supported the transfer, which involved property supplied by the state that was not ultimately required to complete the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The law (PL.113-35) also adjusts parkway boundaries to include approximately ten acres of NPS-owned land along Liberty Drive to State Highway 61/84. This adjustment was requested by the National Park Service.