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Grant sought to expand city tree-planting work

Following a successful Brookway Boulevard tree-planting effort,community appearance proponents are turning their attention toother parts of town.

Bennie Hutchins, working with the Brookhaven-Lincoln CountyChamber of Commerce’s Community Appearance committee, Tuesdayreceived board of aldermen approval to apply for an up to $15,000transportation enhancement grant through the Mississippi ForestryCommission. The application is due by July 1.

“The first priority will be . . . from Whitworth alongMonticello Street to Hamilton Street,” Hutchins said about grantplans.

Also, the committee has identified a number of plantable areason Highway 51 from Brookway Boulevard to Industrial Park Road andon Industrial Park Road from Highway 51 to North Jackson Street.The sports complex is another grant possibility.

“We could plant a lot of trees out there,” Hutchins said, whilealso mentioning the possibility of trees at the Multi-UseFacility.

The grant is available on a 75 percent state-25 percent localmatch basis. Hutchins said the $5,000 local match could be donethrough in-kind labor and equipment assistance, and he did notforesee any problems with the city meeting that requirement.

Ward 3 Alderman the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson questioned what workwould be done on Monticello Street and other east side entrances tothe city.

“We’ve got people coming in from that direction . . .,” Wilsonsaid. “We want to take care of that.”

Hutchins said there were a number of overhead utilities thatwould limit tree planting in some areas. He said the number andspecies of trees were not yet determined.

“We don’t go to that extent until the money’s in hand,” Hutchinssaid.

Mayor Bill Godbold stressed the city’s contribution to theproject would be through in-kind assistance.

In other activity, aldermen voted to pursue eminent domainproceedings against some landowners whose property is needed for aField Lark Lane sewer improvement project. The board also voted toseek an extension to Oct. 1 on use of a grant that is funding theproject.

City Attorney Joe Fernald said six land owners had agreed tosign easements to their property and ownership of one tract had tobe clarified. Indicating negotiations were continuing, Fernald saidthe number of other eminent domain proceedings had not beendetermined.

Regarding other projects, aldermen awarded a $741,320 bid toDickerson and Bowen for paving of First and Second Streets.Awarding of the bid was delayed earlier until state and localfunding could be finalized.

“I think it’s going to be good,” said Sign and TrafficSupervisor Jimmy Furlow about the project.

Furlow said the project will involve some traffic interruptionsand the city would be working with the contractor on how tominimize inconvenience.

In another street matter, aldermen authorized Fernald toresearch and determine ownership of a section of Brookway Boulevardfrom Highway 51 to the interstate. City officials believe thesection belongs to either the state or the county.

“It’s a big issue because they’re responsible for getting itresurfaced if they own it,” Fernald said.

Also Tuesday, aldermen voted to accept partial payments ondebris removal from property owners charged for city clean up oftheir property.

Property owners will expected to pay half the bill up front,with the remainder as quickly as possible. If the bill is not paid,a lien could be attached and the property sold at the annual landsale for delinquent taxes.

Officials also voted to advertise for space at the landfill forthe city’s street and sanitation departments. Godbold said thespace is needed as the city continued its to get an intermodaltransportation facility, which would be built on the street andsanitation departments’ current site.