Sign, light project to attract people to business district

Published 5:00 am Friday, July 14, 2006

With the announcement of a $220,000 United States Department ofAgriculture Rural Business Enterprise Grant to assist with signsand lights for Brookhaven’s central business district, city andchamber officials are moving forward with downtown developmentproject.

“This is something that is one of my goals since they day Ibecame mayor and that was to relight the downtown area,” said MayorBob Massengill. “At the time we didn’t know how we would do thatfinancially.”

Congressman Chip Pickering made the grant announcement July 7.With officials confident the grant would be coming, a committee -led by Ward Three Alderwoman Mary Wilson and including Ward FourAlderwoman Shirley Estes and Alderman at large Les Bumgarner – havebeen researching and planning how to use the grant.

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Portions of Cherokee Street, Railroad Avenue and WhitworthAvenue will receive new lighting, Estes said.

“Due to existing wiring that was placed in the concrete plantersdowntown, we are locked to those specific locations,” saidBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive DirectorCliff Brumfield.

Brumfield said an engineer is working to lay out where lightswill be positioned and checking to make sure the electricalinfrastructure is sufficient to handle the new lighting.

“I think people will be proud of the way it looks and give aunique experience to Brookhaven at night,” Massengill said.

The project will include lamppost lighting features, signsdirecting traffic to the downtown business district from the majorentrances into Brookhaven and new street signs for the downtownarea.

“We are going to put up new street signs that will be a blackbackground with brass lettering,” Bumgarner said.

Additional signs will be placed at strategic locations to directtraffic to the central business district.

“Not only do we want people parading on the boulevard andHighway 51, but also the shops downtown and experiencing theuniqueness of downtown,” Estes said.

Members of the committee and chamber expressed the importance ofmaintaining the downtown area of Brookhaven.

“I think it’s going to be a big attraction,” Bumgarner said.”It’s going to have a real clean look to it and I think people likethat in downtowns.”

Massengill expressed his appreciation to everyone who had a partin obtaining the grant and planning the project.

“We thank Congressman Pickering and Nick Walters and Ms. CharlieJoiner at the USDA and Adrian Wood of the local USDA. They havebeen very helpful in making this come about,” Massengill said. “Wecouldn’t do it without the grant and we are thrilled that it cameabout.”