City gets plan to put station back on track

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Brookhaven officials Tuesday received a look at a proposedMulti-Modal Transportation Facility that has been scaled back tocost less than half the amount of the original version.

The estimated $1.9 million train station design now focuses onrenovation of the old power station building on North RailroadAvenue, said architect Michael Barranco. An earlier $4-$5 milliondesign utilized the power station building and others in thearea.

“We’ve kind of taken a step back from the grand master plan wehad and looked at this thing realistically,” Barranco said.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Barranco said the renovation in Phase One presents a greatopportunity to provide meeting rooms and city storage capabilities.Depending on layout of multiple meeting areas and use of space, thearchitect said the facility would have the capacity to accommodate100-to-200 people.

“There’s very few places for people to meet in smaller groups,”Barranco said. “This would give them a chance to do that.”

For train-related purposes, Barranco said the facility wasdesigned along Amtrak standards and has a waiting area for 50people. While there’s not a commitment for commercial bus serviceat the facility, Barranco said the design can also handle thataspect of transportation.

Barranco said the facility will have a total of 10,300 squarefeet of space on two floors. With the power station building nextto the old smoke stack, he said the design calls for steps aroundthe stack up to the building’s second floor.

The smoke stack would be lighted to add to the facility’sappeal, Barranco said. He and City Engineer Carl Ray Furr said thenew facility would go together well with development of theMississippi School of the Arts.

“There’s an opportunity to have a few landmarks here in thefuture,” Furr said.

Ward Four Alderman Bob Massengill questioned the city’s cost inthe venture. Furr said there would not be any in relation toconstruction.

The city has been appropriated $4 million in federal funding,which must be matched by 20 percent locally, for the project.

Furr said the city’s approximately $350,000 in-kind contributionof the land would allow the city to access the first $2 million forthe project.

Furr’s associate, Hugh Long, said that would use up the city’smatch on the first $2 million. The city would have to come up withmatching funds for the second $2 million for Phase Two, but thatwas not in the immediate plans.

“You’ve got some time to make that decision,” Long toldaldermen.

After aldermen voted down plans for a new city hall earlier thisyear, Mayor Bill Godbold ordered work on the transportationfacility stopped. However, after Furr and Long stressed theimportance of not allowing federal funds to be turned down, workresumed and the scaled back facility design was developed.

Alderman-at-large Les Bumgarner questioned whether a new cityhall could be incorporated into Phase Two of the project. Furr saidthat would be “stretching it,” but he did not rule out thepossibility.

Barranco estimated bids for the project could be sought byMarch. Following a one-year construction period, he said theproject could be finished in 2005.

In other engineer-related business Tuesday, aldermen approved a$441,341 bid to Dickerson and Bowen for paving the runway at theairport. The single bid on the project was the amount as earlieraward that was rescinded due to an bid advertising error.

Furr said the bid is subject to approval of the Federal AviationAdministration, which is supplying the funds for the work.Construction could begin following that OK.

“They’ll get to it as quick as they can,” Furr said.

Furr also spoke to the board briefly about a proposed plan toexpand the city’s landfill on County Farm Road. Godbold hassuggested the city explore buying some adjacent land and utilizingit for a landfill or rubbish field.

Furr said he saw no problem with the Department of EnvironmentalQuality issuing a permit for that operation. He said Brookhavenwould then have a garbage transfer station and a nearby landfillinstead of having to pay to have garbage hauled elsewhere.

“It may be able to put you and the City of Brookhaven in aunique position in the solid waste business,” Furr said.

Solid waste consultant Butch Lambert is expected to attend thenext city board meeting to discuss the landfill proposal and thecity’s overall solid waste operation.