Cool temps mean work in daytime

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2005

City officials said Tuesday long-awaited paving as part of adowntown street project should begin late next week, but coolertemperatures will lead to some changes in the plans.

If all goes well, milling of streets should start Monday andtake a couple of days, with paving being starting Nov. 10 or 11,said Steve Moreton, director of public works. Following indicationsthe paving would be done at night, Moreton said the work is nowbeing recommended to be done in the day.

“Our temperatures have not helped us out at nighttime,” Moretontold aldermen during Tuesday night’s meeting.

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Moreton and Mayor Bob Massengill are scheduled to meet withrepresentatives of contractors Dickerson and Bowen Thursday todiscuss the project.

Moreton said contractors are expected to complete sidewalk worktoday and then make preparations for next week’s activities.Massengill said contractors were aware of downtown businessactivities.

“They’re going to work around that as much as they possiblycan,” the mayor said.

Still, the changes in paving plans did not set well with atleast one alderman.

“They’re changing the whole thing up,” said Alderman at largeLes Bumgarner, who also owns a downtown business on West CherokeeStreet.

Bumgarner called for street milling, which is the removal of oldpavement, to be done at night and for paving to also be done onSunday.

“That’ll save three shopping days,” Bumgarner said.

Bumgarner voiced concerns about money the Chamber of Commercehas spent to promote retail Christmas Open House activitiesscheduled for Nov. 12. He said that not a good time for contractorsto be working on streets.

“They’re going to come in here at their convenient time and it’sjust not a good time for it,” Bumgarner said.

Bumgarner rejected an invitation to Thursday’s meeting, butMassengill and Moreton said they would relay his concerns.

In other business Tuesday, aldermen rescinded an earlier actioninvolving giving priority for airport hangar rental to Brookhavenand Lincoln County residents.

Eviction letters had been sent to three non-Lincoln Countyresidents who rent hangars at the airport. However, citing a letterfrom the Federal Aviation Administration, Massengill said the citymay not discriminate on basis of residency.

In another airport matter, aldermen voted to reactivate theairport advisory board. A governing board was dissolved five yearsago and the advisory board created, but a failure to reappointmembers of the five-member panel has resulted in only one stillbeing active.

“I think that would be in the best interest of the city, theairport and this board, too,” Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell saidabout reviving the advisory board.

Citing diversity benefits, Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estesand others advocated expanding the panel from five members to sevenmembers to allow one member from each ward. The board approved theexpansion along with a provision that four members be pilots andthree be businessmen.

Massengill reminded aldermen that the airport board would onlyserve in an advisory capacity and that final decisions would stillbe made by aldermen.

Also Tuesday, Massengill advised the board that the stateDepartment of Environmental Quality would be conducting furthertests on the old Escambia wood treatment plant in north Brookhaven.The site testing is expected to be done over the next twomonths.

Massengill said the purpose of the tests was to remove any”stigma” associated with the plant site or surrounding property.Located on adjacent property is the community’s speculativebuilding, which economic development officials have had troubleselling due to its proximity to the plant site.

The mayor was optimistic the test results would be positive.

“We think we’re going to come out real well on this,” Massengillsaid.