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Architect to draw new city hall plans

From plans for a new city hall to additional space for aveteran’s museum, building activity discussion occupied a goodportion of Tuesday’s meeting of the mayor and board ofaldermen.

At Mayor Bill Godbold’s request, aldermen approved architectMichael Barranco developing plans for a new city hall that would bebuilt on land across from the government complex, near FirstBaptist Church. The city purchased the land, which is currentlyused for parking, several years ago in anticipation of a possiblemove.

“We’ve been talking about this for years,” Godbold said. “We’venever had a city hall by ourselves.”

Godbold said the city put around $200,000 into construction ofthe government complex when it was built and also pays “rent” atthe facility. Under an agreement with the county, the city does notpay rent but pays a portion of the monthly utility and maintenancecosts at the complex.

“That’s money we could be putting in our own building,” Godboldsaid.

Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill verified that the board was notapproving the construction of a new city hall, but was onlyapproving the creation of plans for the building. Godboldagreed.

“We can stop it at any time we want,” Godbold said about thecity hall development process.

VETERAN’S MUSEUM

In other action, World War II veteran Paul Jackson said responseto a planned veteran’s museum in the old railroad depot had beenoverwhelming and additional space is needed. Aldermen earlierapproved use of the middle portion of the depot as the museum.

“We need the balance of the building to make that museum what itshould be,” Jackson said.

Jackson and Chad Smith, who is organizing a veteran’s parade forSaturday, May 24, said they want the museum to be something ofwhich the city can be proud. Smith said the museum is scheduled toopen May 24 and will be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays andSaturdays.

Godbold asked if the museum organizers wanted to assumeoversight of the depot and pay for water and utilities. Jacksonsaid the group was not making any money on the museum, but the citywould benefit through sales tax from visitors coming to see it.

“We just want the benefit of being able to use it,” Jacksonsaid.

Following more discussion, aldermen approved use of the buildingand the city covering utility costs for a six-month period.Electricity for the building last month was $6.50.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Ward 6 Alderman John E. “Buddy”Allen about the veteran’s museum idea.

BARL FACILITY

Aldermen delayed action on a request from Ed Gove to allow theBrookhaven Animal Rescue League to use a portion of city-ownedHartley Gove Thermometer Plant land for a new animal holdingfacility.

“It’s too many dogs for the space we have available,” Gove saidabout a growing animal need.

Gove said BARL wants to put a new facility on a 200 feet by 300tract of land on the north side of the property and would like cityhelp with providing water and service service. Water DepartmentSuperintendent Lanny Dickey said running a sewer line would costaround $1,500 for materials and a week to install the line.

Gove said fund-raising efforts would determine how quickly thefacility could be built. Alderman-at-large Les Bumgarner expressedsupport for the project.

“I’d like to be able to help them any way we can,” Bumgarnersaid.

Godbold, though, said he would like to see plans for thefacility before the city committed to allowing BARL to use theland. Gove said he would be getting some preliminary plans to thecity.

OTHER ACTIVITY

* Gwen Smith, executive director of the Serving All People,Inc., a community development corporation, spoke to the board aboutSAP goals for creating a community center and apartments. Smithpresented letters of support from various legislative and communityleaders and discussed efforts to get grant and other funding forthe project.

* Police Chief Pap Henderson requested the board seek bid forrenovating the old Mississippi Highway Patrol substation on Highway51 for a new police precinct. City Attorney Joe Fernald said theboard could seek bids but recommended no action be taken until theproperty has been officially deeded to the city.

* Aldermen approved water and sewer connections for Southbrookand Moreton subdivisions outside the city. The connections will bepaid for by developer Lyle Hobbs.