- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Magnolia Bluffs Casino will pay the city $225,000 later this year and committee will help Natchez officials decide how to spend it.

The Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1n5Xmnm) Magnolia Bluffs President Kevin Preston talked with Mayor Butch Brown and other city officials this week about keeping on top of where the money is going.

Preston said he wanted to ensure Natchez knows the casino is a part of the community and will see its contributions through city projects.

“It’s important that customers are able to see improved roads, sidewalks . or whatever it may be, not necessarily for recognition for us, but so that people see what’s going on in the city because of the casino,” Preston told Brown and the others.

“For the amount of money we’re putting in, you’ve got to show what that money is doing,” he said.

The Magnolia Bluffs Casino opened Dec. 18, 2012. The Isle of Capri also has a casino in Natchez.

Magnolia Bluffs pays $1 million in annual rent, as well as the $225,000 annually for community development, $1 million for a “YMCA, community recreation center or Civil Rights museum” paid in $333,000 installments, $300,000 for the Natchez Trails and funds for the development of a Roth Hill public park.

Alderman Dan Dillard said money from the casino’s annual lease payment is going toward improving Natchez streets. The city completed $500,000 in street repairs and is planning another $500,000 later this year.

“If it had not been for Magnolia Bluffs, we would have been hard-pressed to do that,” Dillard said.

Brown the city will work to establish a committee specifically for the community development funding.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/