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City transportation facility funds also may help county

While the city pursues a transportation facility project, thecounty could get help with a parking project through facilityfunds, officials said this week.

Carl Ray Furr, who serves as city and county engineer, saidLincoln County plans for a parking lot across the street from thegovernment complex could get a boost from money being used byBrookhaven to develop a Multi-Modal Transportation Facility. Theproposed parking area is on Chickasaw Street near the South FirstStreet intersection.

“We’re looking at possibly making that off-site parking,” Furrsaid in discussing a connection with the transportation facilitytargeted for the old smokestack area near North Railroad Avenue andWillard Street.

The city has been allocated $4 million in federal funding, whichmust be matched with 20 percent local money for the transportationproject. Scaled back Phase One facility plans call for using anestimated $1.9 million, with the city’s match coming in the valueof the donated land.

“We’ve got the money to do it in phases,” Furr said.

For the paving project, Furr said the county would have toprovide the matching funds. He did not have a cost estimate or atime table for when the work could be done.

Supervisors purchased the Chickasaw Street land several yearsago in hopes of developing a parking area. A corner section betweenthe county property and the government complex is owned by a personin California.

County officials were optimistic the paving project could bedone.

“We need to do it anyway,” said County Administrator DavidFields. “We bought the property with those intentions and we needto move forward with those plans.”

Regarding the city’s transportation facility, Furr expected theproject would be advertised for bids in February.

A ground-breaking could then be done sometime in April, he said.Facility construction is expected to take about a year.

Phase One involves renovations to accomodate train and busservices and to create several meeting areas. Furr said engineersand architects had developed some ideas for Phase Two, but therewere no details.

“It’s a preliminary concept for Phase Two up there,” Furrsaid.

Following Phase One, Furr said aldermen could then decidewhether to proceed with additional work.

“I think when they see what they’ve got, they’ll go ahead,” Furrsaid.

Furr said the federal money must be obligated by 2006.

The donated land is accounting for the city’s match in PhaseOne, but more work would require city funds. Furr indicated that abond issue or other funding possibilities could be used to providethe local 20 percent match for future project phases.

“They’ve got options to look at in the budget to see where thematching money can come from,” Furr said.