City seeks new bids for downtown work

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Plans for a downtown street paving project have been reworked inan effort to pursue the work with funds the city has available.

After rejecting earlier bids amid questions about project sizeand funding, aldermen voted Tuesday night to readvertise for bids.Revised plans have been sent for Mississippi Department ofTransportation review and approval to bid, engineer Jeff Greensaid.

“We have made a few adjustments to hopefully bring the projectwithin the available budget,” Green said.

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Green said adjustments included removing from plans a section ofNorth Jackson Street from below Monticello Street to Cherry Street.He also mentioned some expected materials-related cost savings.

Green did not rule out the possibility of the street sectionbeing done. Officials hope to monitor the project and costs.

“The goal is to do as much as we can,” Green said.

Mayor Bob Massengill said the project would see the downtownarea repaved. He said North Jackson Street and some others wouldneed to be pursued soon.

“We’ve got several streets that are busy streets we’re going tohave to address in the not too distant future,” Massengillsaid.

Another change was the removal of striping for a section ofIndustrial Park Road. Officials said the street is in need ofpaving and striping it now would be a waste of funds.

“We thought it (money for striping) would be better used in thedowntown area,” Green said.

Also included in the project are handicap accessibilityimprovements for city sidewalks.

Green did not reveal the engineer’s estimate for the revisedproject costs. He said, however, it was quite a bit lower than theoriginal project estimate.

Last month, Massengill said the city has about $512,000 inaccumulated federal funds, which will be matched by $112,000 inlocal funds, available. If needed to fund the project, officialsare prepared to borrow against another $110,000 federal allocationis will become available in October.

In other ongoing project activity, Massengill said federalofficials have asked for a progress report on the multi-modaltransportation facility. He said he will be getting information toaldermen soon so that they can make a decision March 15 on whetherto proceed with the project.

“Two weeks from tonight, that is a matter we will deal with,”the mayor said.

Regarding another form of transportation, aldermen voted tosubmit an application to MDOT’s Aeronautics Division for a grant tofund improvements at the municipal airport.

Massengill said a $300,000 grant, which is not expected to haveto be matched with any local money, would provide for a fence andweather reporting equipment at the airport. The applicationdeadline is March 15.

A federal proposal to transform Highway 84 into Interstate 14has gained the support of the board of aldermen. Massengill saidthe state’s congressional delegation had asked the board to approvea letter in support of the interstate project.

Massengill said the interstate would have great economicbenefits for Brookhaven.

“This would make Brookhaven one of the few cities in the stateon two interstates,” Massengill said.

Also Tuesday, Turner Street resident Annie Knight appearedbefore the board to voice concerns about stray dogs. She said thedogs get on her porch and leave various debris in her yard.

“I have to get out every day and pick up dirty diapers. I’m justtired of it,” said Knight, adding that she had been unsuccessful ingetting animal control action from the city.

After some time with the position vacant, Police Chief PapHenderson said the city has an animal control officer who is doinga “fantastic job.” The chief added, though, that the officer haslimited resources in the way of traps and other equipment.

“We’re trying to do the best we possibly can,” Hendersonsaid.

The board approved a $600 revision in the animal control budgetfor equipment purchases.