Supervisors optimistic about park, light funds

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Supervisors returned from Washington, D.C., late last week witha sense of optimism and confidence that federal funding towards theinfrastructure for the LinBrook Business Park could be secured.

“I think we’re going to get the money. I really believe that,”said District One Supervisor the Rev. Jerry Wilson.

Board President and District Five Supervisor Gary Walker,Wilson, County Administrator David Fields and County Engineer CarlRay Furr met Wednesday with the staffs of the state’s congressionaldelegation. Congress was out of session last week and the lawmakerswere unavailable.

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The primary goal of the trip was to seek monetary assistance inbuilding the infrastructure at LinBrook, a 400-acre site nearInterstate 55 on Brookway Boulevard, purchased through a jointeffort involving the county, City of Brookhaven and theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.

The land has been purchased, but approximately $3.3 million ininfrastructure work still needs to be completed. That work includeswater and sewer lines, a water tower, and a road connecting thepark to Brookway Boulevard.

The two supervisors said the lawmakers’ staffers understood theimportance of the industrial park to Brookhaven’s economic futureand growth.

“They were very aware of what was going on and supportive of theproject,” Wilson said. “They had a concern for what was going onhere in Brookhaven as well. That was good to see.”

A nearly $500,000 proposal for lighting at the intersection ofI-55 and the boulevard is not included in that estimated projectcost, but officials consider it a vital part of making the parkattractive to industries.

Walker said he was also optimistic that federal funding may beearmarked for the project when the next national budget isapproved.

“We’re hoping it will come out of Washington for (theMississippi Department of Transportation) to put out all themlights,” he said. “When it does, I think it needs to be earmarkedfor certain areas.”

Without a specific designation, Walker said, MDOT could use themoney on other lighting projects it deems more important.

Supervisors said they were cautioned that special projects inthis area will likely come under more careful scrutiny by Congressfollowing the massive influx of federal funding to assist victimsof Hurricane Katrina. However, they said they were told that worthyprojects would likely still be considered.

Several road projects were also highlighted during the trip,Walker said, including extending state and federal oversight ofCaseyville Road an additional half-mile north of Highway 550 androad work on Homochitto Road near the Lincoln-Franklin countyline.

“That would give us a good road from Copiah County, throughLincoln County and to the Franklin County line,” Walker said.

Work on Jackson-Liberty Drive was also highlighted as apotential project for 2008 funding. The road is listed as a federalroute, Walker said, and the federal government should assist in itsupkeep and repair.