Downtown paving delayed but still planned

Published 6:00 am Friday, December 31, 2004

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas season andhope that 2005 is a great year for you and yours. Periodically Iwant to bring you up-to-date with what’s going on with yourcity.

The downtown paving project has been put on hold for the nextseveral weeks, as the bid came in at a higher price thananticipated. Part of the cause is the cost of handicap ramps, whichare required by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.Another contributor to the cost is the high cost of fuel, whichaffects the price of asphalt.

We are working with the engineer to revise the specifications sothat the project can be rebid. The board and I feel this projectshould have been completed over a year ago, but various factorsprevented this happening. Rebidding in February or early March willstill mean the paving can be done in warmer weather, which is theonly time to have a quality job done.

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While on the subject of downtown, we are pleased that theBradford pear trees have been removed on Whitworth and RailroadAvenues. While the city crews along with assistance from Entergytook the trees down, Brookhaven Beautiful planted sasanquas (a typeof Camellia) in the planters. We know you will be pleased withthese as they mature over the next several years. We hope that theother large trees planted in the downtown area can be replaced withthis evergreen as funds become available.

Recently the city received a federal grant in the amount of$500,000 for sewer work, with the city matching this with $410,000of local funds. This project will likely begin this summer.

The city crews continue to clean drainage ditches and we haveseen improvement in the flow of storm water. There are still someareas of flooding, however, which need to be addressed. Part of theproblem results from debris being put in the ditches or when thedrains get covered. While Brookhaven’s problems are similar tothose experienced by most Mississippi cities, we want to worktowards solving the problems if possible, not merely recognizingthe problems.

The board is soon to conduct a work session with representativesfrom the city’s engineering firm to discuss possible solutions tomajor problem areas. I assure you that this is a matter ofimportance to your board and to me. We will keep you posted on theprogress being made.

Fire Chief Paul Cartwright is retiring Jan. 31. Paul has 30years’ service, 16 of which he has served as chief. We wish Paulbest in his retirement. The board will be working on finding a newchief during the next several months.

The multi-modal project has been put on hold these past severalweeks, as the board is trying to determine whether or not toproceed with the project. No money has been spent on this projectin 2004, but the board must soon make a decision, as the first yeargrant funds will soon be lost, if not used. The architect is tomeet with the board on January 18 to discuss the project in detail.The board will then decide whether to move forward or not.

Mike Jinks and I were chosen as the city’s representatives onthe new Industrial Park Alliance. We will be working with BobbyWatts and Tillmon Bishop (the county’s representatives) and AnthonyBell (the president of the Industrial Development Foundation). Eachof the members of this alliance is accountable to his appropriateboard, but formulating this organization will prevent each boardfrom having to make each and every decision regarding the newIndustrial Park. The environmental study has been finalized and theappraisal work is to begin soon. Once this has been done, the cityand county plan to issue bonds for the purchase of the land.

When the purchase has been completed, Brookhaven and LincolnCounty will once again be in the position of attracting newindustries to our community. This alliance will be working withCliff Brumfield, who is joining the Chamber/IDF, and I know we alllook forward to having him on board.

I hope this update helps you know some of what is going on inyour city. I’ll try to keep you well informed.