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Volunteers sought for phase 2 work of water upgrade

MONTICELLO — City officials are calling for volunteers toassist them in the second phase of a grant process for a new watersystem.

In the next two weeks, the city will begin laying pipe on thesecond phase of the STEP grant, a self-help grant that providesfunding for hardware, such as pipe. The city is providing themanual labor, according to Mayor David Nichols.

Pipe layers are not the only labor force needed, Nichols said,and volunteers may not feel obligated to lay pipe. Also needed arevolunteers to provide lunches or child care, among other things,for the other volunteers.

“The more workers we have, the more we can do,” Nicholssaid.

The project consists of laying new pipe in the New Town, Ward 1,Tommy Jolly Drive and Riverwood areas.

Nichols was not sure where work would start, but he said theywould complete one area before moving to the next one.

The mayor expects the pipe laying project to last several weeks,with most of the work being done on weekends.

“We will base this around the volunteers’ schedule,” Nicholssaid. “If only one can work during the week, we won’t do that. But,if several can, we may.”

The first phase of the STEP grant was conducted by volunteerslast year. They completed an analysis of the water system and itsneeds. The pipe laying project continues that process by addressingthe needs identified in the analysis, he said.

In other matters, Nichols went to New Orleans last week for ameeting with city officials there on the Highway 27 four-laningproject.

He met with Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Terry Ebbert, andthe Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Terry C. Tullier.

“They showed a lot of interest in the 25/27 Evacuation Corridor,which is what we’re calling it now. They are arranging for me tomake a presentation to a 13-parish task force dealing withhurricane preparedness and emergency evacuation,” Nichols said.

Two of the 13 parishes involved with the task force, Washingtonand St. Tammany, are already aware of the project and support it,the mayor said. Those parishes are in the corridor, as are thecities of Franklinton, Covington and Folsom, which also support theproject.

The date for that meeting has not been set.

“If we can get all 13 parishes on board and go back toWashington with their support, it should help in securing federalfunds to assist in the project,” Nichols said.

In related news, Nichols and Charlie Dumas, the Prentiss mayor,were elected to the board of directors for the El Camino Corridor,another highway project connecting Savannah, Ga., to El Paso,Texas. The El Camino Corridor runs predominantly along Highway84.

“If both these projects are successful, imagine what that coulddo for Monticello,” Nichols said. “We would have a major four-lanethoroughfare from New Orleans to Vicksburg and beyond and fromSavannah to El Paso converging in Monticello.”

Mississippi has four spots on the 15-member board, he said. Theother two state spots are held by Janet Sullivan with theMississippi Department of Transportation and V.O. Smith, the mayorof Collins.

“That’s quite a coup for us and for Mississippi,” Nicholssaid.