Chamber: Downtown projects moving forward

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 7, 2006

Downtown development issues highlighted Tuesday’s city boardmeeting as chamber of commerce officials updated city fathers onplans for new Christmas decorations and new signage for thearea.

“You have made my decade,” Chamber President Rita Rich said asshe thanked aldermen for the new year budget allocation of $18,000to purchase new Christmas decorations. “I think it’s going to lookreally great.”

Rich said the new decorations have been ordered and chamberofficials hope to have them up in time for the Nov. 30 Christmasparade in downtown.

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Among the new decorations are large displays of three wise men oncamels, a Nativity scene that will be put up near TrustmarkNational Bank, 42 “shooting star” items and 10 new flags, whichwill raise the total number of flags to 71, Rich said.

“We will put lights wherever we can to make it pretty downtown atnight,” Rich said.

Rich also thanked aldermen for an additional $12,000 to thechamber’s budget for marketing of the new LinBrook Business Park.That amount raised the city’s contribution to the chamber to$48,000.

Chamber Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield also unveiled astreet sign design chosen by a committee of aldermen working with alight and sign project for downtown. The new signs will featuregold letters on black with the chamber logo in the top center.

“I think it looks great,” Brumfield said. “They did a goodjob.”

Aldermen approved advertising for bids on the new street signs andfor six-feet tall welcome signs to be put at the city entrance onBrookway Boulevard. Brumfield said approximately 40 street signswill be put up in the central business district.

“We want to continue this theme out to the boulevard,” Brumfieldsaid.

The city has received a $222,000 grant from USDA Rural Developmentfor the light and sign project. Brumfield said an engineer isdeveloping a map of the downtown area to help determine where newlights can be placed.

In other business last night, a Brookhaven Planning Commissionrecommendation on a policy regarding accessory buildings inresidential neighborhoods drew quick condemnation from somealdermen. The suggestion stated that an accessory building’s sizecan not exceed 20 percent of the property’s main building size andmust be built to be compatible with the main building.

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell said the proposal would do awaywith storage buildings in residential areas. He was defiant in hisopposition to the recommendation.

“When I get ready to put one up in my yard, I’m going to put itthere,” Maxwell said.

Aldermen had earlier asked the commission to look into a policy onaccessory buildings. Public Works Director Steve Moreton, whopresented the recommendation, said the board could accept it,modify it or reject it.

“It’s not going to satisfy a lot of people, it’s not going tosatisfy many, it’s going to satisfy people who have a problem withwhatever comes up in their neighborhood,” Moreton said.

Aldermen took no action last night on the recommendation.

Also Tuesday, officials continued to recognize employees withmultiple years of service to the city. Longtime street departmentemployees were honored last night.

Honorees and their years of service included Superintendent JamesGriffin, 32 years; Marie Patton, 26 years; L.D. Burnett, 15 years;Robert L. Edwards, 14 years; Michael Smith, 12 years; James L.Smith, 12 years; William Case, 10 years; Jesse Burton, nine years;Tyree Gearing, eight years; Alexander Olinde IV, eight years;Ronnie Heathcock, seven years; R.C. Cameron, six years; Essie L.Thompson, five years; and Roy Dixon, five years.