Officials line up project help requests

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

Mayor Bob Massengill and the Board of Aldermen Tuesday nightidentified projects they will present to the state’s congressionalcoalition during their yearly Washington trip later this month.

Pointing out that several of the projects they had put beforeWashington officials had been taken care of in one way or another,Massengill said he, Alderman at large Les Bumgarner and Ward TwoAlderman Terry Bates will take four requests with them on the Feb.25-27 trip.

The first concern will be the paving of Brookway Boulevard,Massengill said. Brookhaven and Lincoln County officials have askedfor funds for paving Brookway for several years with no success sofar, but it will remain on the request list, Massengill said.

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The second request will be for streambank erosion control. Poordrainage in the Halbert Heights drainage ditch and another ditch inthe southeast corner of Brookhaven are causing inundation andserious erosion of streambanks near residential structures.

The third request will be for continued help with sewer linereplacement.

“We’re getting really close to easements on the project that’spending,” Massengill said. “It’s likely there’s not going to be afederal appropriation for it, but they can help us with it and helpsell it.”

The fourth request was brought up by Bumgarner. He asked if thecity is currently in possession of a fire truck that would reach tothe top floors of Mississippi School of the Arts, which isBrookhaven’s tallest building.

Massengill confirmed that the current equipment being run by theBrookhaven Fire Department would not reach to the top of theeight-story building in case of emergency.

Bumgarner said he felt that was a project the city might have agood chance of having funded through federal funds.

“They might say, ‘Well the water and sewer are your problem,’but they’ll want to take care of those kids,” he said.

Massengill also told the board that during the time he, Batesand Bumgarner spend in Washington, they will discuss the ongoingwoes the city is facing with the multimodal facility.

Massengill said he had heard that throughout the country, over40 cities have been unable to build depots because the FederalRailway Administration refuses to allow the dock height on newfacilities to be lower than 15 inches for boarding purposes.Meanwhile, Canadian National has stated that they will not settlefor anything higher than eight inches, as it could damage freightcars.

“There is a glimmer of hope, though,” Massengill said. “The FRAhas been acting like this is the law, but it doesn’t go into effectuntil 2010.”

Massengill said he felt it was worth discussing in Washington inorder to enlist any help or pull legislators might have that wouldhelp further the project.